GREELEY — As more and more Colorado businesses begin to open in a COVID-19 world, some wonder if guidance and regulations put in place by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will actually help slow the spread, or even provide accurate data if there is a spike in cases.
Coloradans posting on social media are pointing out that there is no way to determine exactly where someone contacted the virus when businesses are treated differently, and business are interpreting and applying the regulations differently, even among the same industry.
Some say regulations on certain industries are overreaching and not being equally applied in others.
They question whether the hit and miss nature of the regulations, nearly three weeks after Gov. Jared Polis lifted “stay at home” orders, are proof that they don’t really matter as daily numbers of cases and deaths across the state continue to decline.
Among the examples being discussed on Facebook and verified by Complete Colorado include:
Home Depot and Lowe’s —
The home improvement giants are considered “essential” businesses, so they are not limited to certain numbers of employees or customers. Both retailers have limited their store hours, installed plexiglass at cash registers, marked six-foot distancing, display social distancing recommendations and require employees to wear face masks.
However, Home Depot is limiting customers in the store and policing the occupancy with employees stationed at one entrance and one exit on walkie-talkies with a one-in, one-out approach. They have also labeled aisles one-way.
Lowe’s on the other hand, does not limit traffic in the store or have one-way aisles.
Medical facilities —
While elective specialty services that were initially deemed “non-essential” are now requiring face masks, taking temperatures and asking basic health questions before they allow service, they are being implemented much differently depending on the location. Comments on several feeds identified:
- A dentist’s office that required a phone call from the car so they could open the door and a personal escort to the service chair.
- An orthodontist’s office that met patients outside and had patients sign waivers stating if they contacted Covid-19 from their office they would not sue.
- A large professional medical building that took temperatures and asked medical questions inside the front door but did not record the results and, once inside — aside from social distancing posters — all else remained the same from pre Covid-19.
- A chiropractor’s office that only required a mask. No temperature checks no questions.
Regulatory differences from one industry to another —
Social media feeds are filled with frustrations over the regulations personal service industries such as salons, tattoo parlors and personal trainers are required to undertake, which include not only taking temperatures and filling out health questionnaires, but they must also report them to the state, the only industries with such restrictions. They are also limited to 10 people inside the salon regardless of whether the stylists are separated by individual rooms with doors. So, a studio that normally employs multiple stylists cannot have all working at the same time because there must be dedicated employees taking temperatures and the total number allowed inside includes stylists and clients. t.
“I know I will be losing clients, and honestly, I’m afraid of the legal ramifications,” one stylist wrote. “I guess time will tell.”
The differences in how businesses are enforcing the regulations leaves people wondering how the state could possibly know where someone contacted the virus.
A good example is one woman who drove to Greeley from Fort Collins to get her gardening supplies.
“I refuse to wear a mask,” the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told Complete Colorado. “I did my grocery shopping in Cheyenne, (Wyo.) over the weekend. We just run all our errands in one day in either Cheyenne or Greeley. I found a woman to come to my home and do my hair.”
If that same woman visited three or four different businesses (some who take and report temperatures and some who don’t) on the same day and repeated that process two-three times in a week, and near the end of the 14-day incubation period from her first exposure became sick, there is no way to determine where she may have contracted it.
Additionally, some say the assumptions that the state may draw based on a temperature being reported could be entirely wrong, as in the case of a client to a personal service provider.
“What if I go to get my hair cut and I have a temperature of 101 that is reported to the state. I didn’t get my hair cut, but I was in contact with the person who took my temperature, and a week later that person gets sick.” One Facebook post read. “But she has also been to the grocery store, the gas station and ordered pick up from her favorite restaurant. None of the other places were required to take temperatures. Am I going to get a call from the state and be labeled presumptive for COVID-19, forced to test for it or ordered to self-quarantine if I refuse the test, despite my fever possibly being the result of another issue? It’s not right. Without a full medical examination, the state should not be allowed to harvest incomplete data.”
Greeley resident Diane Hoffman, who is in a high-risk group, said she has been extra cautious about going into public beyond her job as an essential employee, but believes it’s time to let people be responsible for themselves.
Hoffman, who said she always wears a mask when in a public building, keeps sanitizer in her car, and doesn’t go out much more than for essential items right now, she’s ready to get back to normal.
“I do worry,” Hoffman said. “But I feel it’s my responsibility to be aware of the situations and protect myself accordingly. I’m not going to hide in fear. I want to be out and about as safely as I can.”