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List of ‘critical businesses’ in Colorado exempt from stay-at-home order

DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- On Wednesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued a state-wide stay-at-home order, temporarily closing all non-critical businesses.

So what are "critical businesses"?

In the executive order, Polis refers to the list of critical businesses as defined in Public Health Order 20-24 .

Rest assured, the basic necessities like groceries, pharmacies, medical and gas services will remain open.

In full, these businesses below are allowed to stay open per PHO 20-24.

Healthcare Operations, Including:

  • Hospitals, clinics, and walk-in health facilities
  • Medical and dental care, including ambulatory providers
  • Research and laboratory services
  • Medical wholesale and distribution
  • Home health care companies, workers and aides
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • Behavioral health care providers
  • Veterinary care and livestock services
  • Nursing homes, residential health care, or congregate care facilities
  • Medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers, including durable medical equipment technicians and suppliers

Critical Infrastructure, Including:

  • Utilities and electricity, including generation, transmission, distribution and fuel supply
  • Utilities and electricity, including generation, transmission, distribution and fuel supply
  • Road and railways
  • Oil and gas extraction, production, refining, storage, transport and distribution
  • Public water and wastewater
  • Telecommunications and data centers
  • Transportation and infrastructure necessary to support authorized businesses
  • Hotels, and places of accommodation
  • Businesses and organizations that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged, persons with access and functional needs, or otherwise needy individuals
  • Food and plant cultivation, including farming crops, livestock, food processing and manufacturing, animal feed and feed products, rendering, commodity sales, and any other work critical to the operation of any component of the food supply chain
  • Any business that produces products critical or incidental to the construction or operation of the categories of products included in this subsection

Critical Manufacturing, Including:

  • Food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
  • Chemicals
  • Computers and computer components
  • Medical equipment, components used in any medical device, supplies or instruments
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Sanitary products
  • Telecommunications
  • Microelectronics/semiconductor
  • Agriculture/farms
  • Household paper products
  • Any business that produces products critical or incidental to the processing, functioning, development, manufacture, packaging, or delivery of any of the categories of products included in this subsection
  • Any manufacturing necessary to support the Critical Infrastructure outlined in the previous section

Critical Retail, Including:

  • Grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
  • Farm and produce stands
  • Gas stations and convenience stores
  • Restaurants and bars (for take-out/delivery only as authorized under Executive Order D 2020 011 and PHO 20-22, as amended)
  • Marijuana dispensary (only for the sale of medical marijuana or curbside delivery pursuant to Executive Order D 2020 011)
  • Hardware, farm supply, and building material stores
  • Establishments engaged in the retail sale of food and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products)

Critical Services, Including:

  • Trash, compost, and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • Mail and shipping services, and locations that offer P.O. boxes
  • Self-serve laundromats and garment and linen cleaning services for critical businesses
  • Building cleaning and maintenance
  • Child care services (following the requirements outlined in Exemptions below)
  • Auto supply and repair (including retail dealerships that include repair and maintenance, but not retail sales)
  • Warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, including freight distributors
  • Funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries
  • In-person pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need of end of life services provided social distancing is observed to the greatest extent possible
  • Storage for Critical Businesses
  • Animal shelters, animal rescues, zoological facilities, animal sanctuaries, and other related facilities
  • K-12 public and private schools for the purpose of providing meals, housing, facilitating or providing materials for distance learning, and providing other essential services to students. 
  • Postsecondary institutions including private and public colleges and universities for the purpose of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that Social Distancing Requirements are observed, such as security, medical and mental health service, housing, food service, and critical research
  • Pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in-need of end-of-life services
  • Houses of worship may remain open, but must practice social distancing or use electronic platforms
  • Professional services, such as legal, title companies, or accounting services, real estate appraisals and transactions   

News Media

  • Newspapers
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Other media services

Financial Institutions, Including:

  • Banks and credit institutions
  • Insurance, payroll, and accounting services
  • Services related to financial markets

Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, Including:

  • Homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
  • Food banks
  • Human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in State-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in State-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support

Construction, Including:

  • Housing and housing for low-income and vulnerable people
  • Skilled trades such as electricians, 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, 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

Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences or Other Critical Businesses, Including:

  • Law enforcement
  • Fire prevention and response
  • Building code enforcement
  • Security
  • Emergency management and response
  • Building cleaners or janitors
  • General maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • Automotive repair
  • Disinfection
  • Snow removal

Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:

  • Logistics
  • Technology support for online and telephone services
  • Child care programs and services
  • Government owned or leased buildings
  • Critical Government Functions

Read the full public health order here.

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Suzie Ziegler


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