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Colorado, Nevada join West Coast states in COVID-19 working group

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Derek Draplin | The Center Square

 (The Center Square) – Colorado and Nevada have joined West Coast states in a working group aimed at gradually reopening their economies while continuing to combat COVID-19. 

Colorado and Nevada join California, Washington and Oregon, which were already a part of a regional approach to lifting stay-at-home restrictions, in the “Western States Pact.”

The pact says it agrees on principles for “gradually modifying” their stay-at-home orders so their economies can begin to safely reopen. 

Colorado’s stay-at-home order expired on Sunday, as the state transitions to a new safer-at-home order that takes effect on Monday.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement the state has “important information to share with and to gain from other states.” 

“There’s no silver bullet that will solve this pandemic until there is a cure so we must have a multifaceted and bold approach in order to slow the spread of the virus, to keep our people safe and help our economy rebound,” he said.

Colorado’s new safer-at-home order allows retail businesses to begin offering curbside service on Monday, and will allow in-person service starting May 1. The new order also allows non-critical businesses to begin letting 50 percent of their workforce return starting May 4.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, whose state’s stay-at-home order extends until at least April 30, said joining the pact is important for his state’s economic recovery. Nevada, which relies heavily on tourism, has seen343,000 initial unemployment claims in a five-week span.

“I’m honored to have the State of Nevada join  the Western States Pact and believe the sharing of critical information and best practices  on how to mitigate the spread, protect the health and safety of our residents, and reopen responsibly will be invaluable as we chart our paths forward,” Sisolak said. “Millions of visitors from our fellow Western states travel to Nevada every year as a premier tourism destination, and this partnership will be vital to our immediate recovery and long-term economic comeback.”  

A news release from Polis’ office cites principles from the initial agreement made by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

The principles say each state agrees “residents’ health comes first”; “health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions”; and “our states will only be effective by working together.” 

The pact also says states are committed to protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19 such as the elderly, ensuring hospitals are prepared for surges, and medical professionals have adequate personal protective equipment. 

“Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating,” another goal outlined in the pact says.