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Buying gift cards for businesses that have had to close during the COVID-19 precautions can help them remain solvent. Pictured is the marquee at downtown Colorado Springs independent movie theater Kimball's Peak Three.

Confused on what businesses are considered essential? The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment defines one as:

“Any business, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of its corporate structure, engaged in any of the commercial, manufacturing, or service activities listed below."

Such businesses "may continue to operate as normal," according to the state. "Critical Businesses must comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the CDPHE and any applicable local health department. Critical Businesses must comply with Social Distancing Requirements”

The essential businesses are:

  • Health Care Operations, including hospitals; clinics; walk-in health facilities; pharmacies; nursing homes; dental care, including ambulatory providers; research and laboratory services; veterinary care and livestock services; medical supply and equipment retailers and manufacturers.
  • Critical Infrastructure, including utilities; road and railways; oil and gas extraction; water and wastewater; telecommunications and data; hotels.
  • Food and Manufacturing, including farming, livestock, food processing and manufacturing; chemicals; computers and computer components; sanitary products; telecommunications; household paper products
  • Critical Retail, including grocery stores; farm and produce stands; gas stations and convenience stores; take-out or delivery restaurants and bars; marijuana dispensary (only for the sale of medical marijuana or curbside delivery*); firearms stores; hardware, farm supply, and building material stores.
  • Critical Services, including trash, compost, and recycling collection, processing and disposal; mail and shipping services; self-serve laundromats; building cleaning and maintenance; child care services; car rental, parts and repair (including dealerships with repair shops, but no retail sales); warehouse/distribution and fulfillment; funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries; animal shelters, animal boarding services, animal rescues, zoological facilities, animal sanctuaries, and other related facilities.
  • News Media, including newspapers; TV; radio; other media services
  • Financial Institutions, including banks and credit institutions; insurance, payroll, and accounting services; services related to financial markets
  • Economically Disadvantaged Population Providers, including homeless shelters and congregate care facilities; hood banks; human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in-state-licensed or funded voluntary programs.
  • Construction, including housing and housing for the low-income and vulnerable; skilled trades such as electricians and plumbers; other related firms and professionals for who provide services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences, and other essential services
  • Defense, including security and intelligence-related operations supporting the State of Colorado, local government, the U.S. Government or a contractor for any of the foregoing; aerospace operations; military operations and personnel; defense suppliers
  • Municipal and General Services, including law enforcement; fire prevention and response; building code enforcement; emergency management and response; Judicial branch operations, including attorneys if necessary for ongoing trials and required court appearances, unless appearances can be done remotely; building cleaners, janitors and general maintenance; disinfection; snow removal
  • Businesses That Need To Maintain Minimum Basic Operations: There are some exceptions for businesses that need to maintain the value of their inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions; or facilitate employees being able to continue to work remotely from home. Businesses listed here must comply at all times with social distancing requirements.
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