6/5/2020 Pikes Peak Regional Joint Information Center Brief

El Paso County, Colo.-- As a coordinated response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, El Paso County Public Health, El Paso County, and the City of Colorado Springs will provide updates from a variety of local agencies responding to this health emergency. Media are encouraged to share the below information with the public and media interviews are available. Moving forward, this communication will go out Tuesdays and Thursdays between noon and 1 p.m. 

PLEASE READ: We are aware the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released new “guidance” yesterday afternoon regarding Personal Recreation, Outdoor Recreation and Places of Worship, among other topics. This “guidance” is just that: “guidance.”  It is not officially in effect until it is written into an official Public Health Order.

Currently, the state (including El Paso County) is under the “Fifth Amended Public Health Order 20-28” which was issued by the state on June 2, and can be found here. That Public Health Order also addresses new stipulations for Personal Recreation, Outdoor Recreation and Places of Worship, which went into effect June 4. However, the Public Health Order does not completely align with the new “guidance” on these topics, released by CDPHE yesterday afternoon. 

 We know this is confusing, but we want to help you clarify the difference between the “guidance” and the current Public Health Order. ANY “GUIDANCE” DOES NOT APPLY UNTIL IT IS WRITTEN INTO AN OFFICIAL PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER. THE ONLY RULES/ALLOWANCES CURRENTLY IN EFFECT ARE THOSE WRITTEN INTO THE CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER (Fifth Amendment Public Health Order 20-28, linked above).

 Please be careful in your reporting, and make sure that you are pulling your information from the Public Health Order, not the “guidance” released by CDPHE. To help clarify what is currently in effect under the most recent Public Health Order, we’ve summarized the key takeaways from the Public Health Order in the attached document. Please refer to this document for any clarification on what is currently in effect in El Paso County. The current Public Health Order stands until an updated/amended version is issued by the state.”

Playgrounds reopen throughout El Paso County, limited to 10 people at a time

In accordance with Gov. Jared Polis’ public health order, playgrounds in the City of Colorado Springs and unincorporated El Paso County are open and can be used by up to 10 people at a time. Signage will be posted at each site noting the capacity recommendation and reminding citizens to use physical distancing and proper hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The City and County ask for voluntary compliance to the following guidelines:

• Continue to physically distance, staying at least 6 feet from members of other households.

• If you are sick, stay home, unless you are getting tested or seeking medical care.

• Avoid recreating in public spaces if anyone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

• You are encouraged to wear a mask while recreating.

• Bring hand sanitizer to your clean hands when soap and water is not available.

The City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County youth and adult sports leagues may now play with a limit of 25 participants if playing outdoors. Reservations from organized leagues, sport camps and outdoor camps will be accepted starting Monday, June 8, for outdoor recreation facilities, including fields and courts.

 Click here for full recreation guidance.

Applications due for Opportunity Zone program
For small businesses and low income communities, access to working capital is a barrier that is further heightened by current economic conditions. Opportunity zones business incentives provide these businesses with a much needed economic tool. We are working with the Colorado Center for Innovation in Community Capital (CC4ICC) to encourage investments in opportunity zone businesses throughout the state. 

As a part of the program, CC4ICC will be providing free consulting services to 10 opportunity zone businesses, guiding them through the process of:

·    Developing a pitch deck 

·    Business planning 

·    Connecting with investors 

·    Securing investment 

Business owners should consider applying if they are located in, or considering locating in, a qualified opportunity zone and seeking equity investment to grow their businesses. Applications for the new Opportunity Zone program are due June 12. 

For more information, check out this OZ business flow chart and the map of qualified opportunity zones in Colorado.

New Call Center Hours
The El Paso/Teller County COVID-19 Call Center is changing its hours, effective Monday, June 8. The new hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The call center can be reached at 719-575-8888.

Reliable Information Sources
Please continue to remind your viewers and readers to always rely on credible and official news sources and agencies. 
Current information on the number of COVID-19 cases in El Paso County
El Paso County Health: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) 
City of Colorado Springs: Coloradosprings.gov/covid19  
State of Colorado: https://covid19.colorado.gov/  

Kim Melchor, Michelle Hewitt, Natalie Sosa
Public Information Officers, Joint Information Center
(719) 299-7700
El Paso County, CO