It's a question everyone is asking. Is the stay-at-home order really mandatory?

There was a time when social-distancing was a strongly suggested recommendation. It was a good idea to keep your distance, but churches and businesses were left to exercise the recommendation at their own discretion.

As the coronavirus pandemic has continued to unfold in Colorado we have seen that recommendation evolve into something much more than a suggestion. Still, when Governor Jared Polis issued the executive order Wednesday, a lot of people still weren't clear exactly what it meant.

Perhaps the problem is that the governor was very kind with his words as he "asked" the good people of Colorado to stay home and save lives. The reality is, he wasn't asking, he was telling.

The governor's office has posted a FAQ sheet about the stay-at-home-order and it clearly states the order is mandatory and not suggested guidance. In fact, it uses pretty strong language to emphasize the point this is serious business.

"This order is an executive order, which means it’s the law of Colorado. It’s illegal to break the law."

Now, how strictly the law is enforced by local authorities remains to be seen. The document from the governor's office says if you suspect someone of violating the order you should contact the local public health agency to voice your concerns. You could also file a report with the Attorney General's office if local health officials or law enforcement are unresponsive.

I would highly doubt that anyone would "report" a fellow citizen, but it is possible. How could you possibly know there was a violation unless you saw a large gathering of people, which is clearly prohibited. There are so many exceptions and exemptions in place, that an extremely large number of people still have to go to work. And nothing is stopping anyone from heading to the grocery store for food and supplies. If they really wanted to get serious about this thing, they would find a way to limit grocery store visits to one per week.

The whole point is that the coronavirus is a serious matter and the sooner we realize it and start acting like it, the sooner we can get through this and get our lives back on track and back to normal. The stay-at-home order is real and it's serious. And just because you can venture out, it doesn't mean you should.

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CO-HELP is Colorado’s call line for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). People who have general questions about COVID-19 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, for answers in many languages, or email them at for answers in English.

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