This is reprehensible. I’m disappointed to see Governor Polis would use the sick and dying as pawns in a political hit against Weld County.
As Weld County government has made it clear they won’t be pressuring or instructing any businesses within the county to open outside of the state order, they’ve also stated they will not use county resources to shut down or penalize business owners who choose to operate. In addition, they’re working to make certain all business owners have the information and tools they need to ensure they make the best decisions for their business and their communities, something that will vary greatly from county to county, city to city, and especially industry to industry.
In response to this, Governor Jared Polis has threatened to pull COVID-19 emergency funding from Weld County. This is the same governor who refers to the virus as the “Grim Reaper” when addressing the public.
As a Weld County resident myself, I know the majority of citizens here are apolitical. None of us deserve to have our livelihoods or our lives put in jeopardy because politicians are using us as pawns. And that is exactly what is happening.
COVID-19 emergency funding is given to the county health department with the direct goal being to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. It is being used to expand and accelerate testing, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), obtain ventilators, enhance contamination efforts in hospitals, nursing homes and senior living facilities, and more.
Weld County is dealing with some heartwrenching outbreaks at nursing homes – that is where much of the cases and deaths originate and why our case rate is so high.
Pulling this emergency funding because Polis is angry this county would deviate from his directives without his permission is downright irresponsible. It is much more irresponsible than the county commissioners letting a barber shop open to ten customers in a day, or a woman grooming a poodle alone in her mobile van, or the smoke shop operating where people will buy the same vape and tobacco products they are purchasing at the corner store that has been deemed “essential,” next door to the “essential” pot shop.
Nearly 300,000 people in Colorado have filed for unemployment since March. That means one out of every ten people are unemployed. Additionally, the state finds it acceptable that any and every one of those who are unemployed get a job at Walmart or Costco or the like – where thousands of people are moved through like cattle every day.
Yesterday a barber shop in Weld county DID open before the state’s approved May 1 date. This business owner has developed a new model that will ensure mitigation to best of their ability. It’s pretty intense and goes far beyond what the state or county is suggesting. I’m not surprised as business owners care far more about their customers than any government entity does.
The question I now have is this: Will Polis pull Weld County’s emergency funding if the county doesn’t take action against this barber? Even though if this barber were working at Walmart, no one would bat an eye?
I’ll be watching.
Lesley Hollywood is a Weld County resident and longtime citizen activist.