Law enforcement officers across the Pikes Peak region will be encouraging voluntary compliance of the statewide stay-at-home order issued Wednesday to slow the spread of coronavirus and do not plan to issue tickets to violators.
4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May told El Paso County commissioners Thursday that law enforcement agencies will be focusing on educating the public about the order and verbally warning them to abide by it. May was among many officials to update the commissioners about the new order issued by Gov. Jared Polis and efforts to stop the spread of virus.
Polis' order instructed residents to stay at home and only to leave for reasons critical to health and safety. It provided exceptions for many activities, such as going to the grocery store and working at jobs deemed essential.
May said law enforcement will not pull over residents to randomly check why they have left home.
"We are seeing too many scare tactics in this crisis," he said.
Once educated, most residents will want to do the right thing and abide by the order, May said.
However, law enforcement may work with the health department to issue cease-and-desist letters to nonessential businesses that stay open, he said.
County officials are also working with the state to prepare to open alternate-care facilities that could be used to handle coronavirus patients when the number of cases peaks, which could happen in April, said Jim Reed, director of the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is going to prepare the facilities, he told county commissioners.
Many county offices closed to the public March 16; the county does not anticipate further closures because of the new order, County Attorney Diana May said. Many county services are available online.
While the county didn't have to make big changes because of the order, county commissioners expressed general frustration that Polis didn't communicate with local governments before holding a news conference to announce the order.
"We were left scrambling trying to figure out exactly what the order meant," Commission Chairman Mark Waller said.