> Small Business Assistance. This memorandum provides an overview of federal, state, and local programs to assist small business owners and employees in Colorado during the economic instability caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19). In order to qualify for assistance programs as a small business, a business must meet certain size standards that vary according to the program. The size standards may include a maximum number of employees and maximum average annual business receipts or revenue. Click here to see the full memo: https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/resources-small-businesses-respons...
> Laws Prohibiting Price Gouging. This memorandum provides information related to state laws prohibiting price gouging during declared emergencies. Click here to see the full memo: https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/state-laws-prohibiting-price-gougi...
> Colorado Criminal Justice System Response to COVID-19. These four memoranda provide an overview of how courts and other sectors of the criminal justice system in Colorado are responding to this public health emergency.
• Colorado Department of Corrections. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/colorado-department-corrections-an...
• Community Corrections. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/community-corrections-response-cov...
• Colorado Court System. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/colorado-courts%E2%80%99-response-...
• Colorado Juvenile Justice System. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/colorado-juvenile-justice-system-r...
> Energy Consumption and Response of Utilities to COVID-19. This memorandum provides an overview of how energy consumption and usage has changed as a result of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), and how Colorado utilities are responding. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/response-utilities-covid-19
> Family, Medical, and Sick Leave Laws. An issue brief provides an overview of federal and state family, medical, and sick leave laws. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/family-medical-and-sick-leave-laws...
> State Paid Family and Medical Leave Laws. This memo summarizes major components of paid family and medical leave laws across the states. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/state-paid-family-and-medical-leav...
> Federal Legislation in Response to COVID-19. This issue brief provides a summary of the three pieces of federal legislation that were passed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19, or coronavirus, public health emergency. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/summary-federal-legislation-passed...
> Governor's Executive Orders. This memorandum provides a summary of the various Executive Orders and Public Health Orders issued during the declared disaster emergency related to the presence of COVID-19 in Colorado. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/summary-governor%E2%80%99s-executi...
> Telehealth. This memorandum provides an overview of how the spread of the coronavirus and associated disease (COVID-19) has prompted insurers, federal and state health organizations, and behavioral and mental health organizations to adopt policies that support and encourage the use of telehealth. Telehealth enables long-distance health care and other health-related services to occur with the use of telecommunication technology. Telehealth can assist in the provision of health services as health organizations and governments encourage social distancing and advise limiting non-urgent visits to health care providers to slow the spread of COVID-19. Click here to see the full memo: https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/expansion-telehealth-services-resp...
> Division of Insurance Changes in Response to COVID-19. This memorandum provides an overview of temporary changes the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) implemented in response to the spread of COVID-19 and associated declaration of a disaster emergency by Governor Polis on March 11, 2020. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/division-insurance-changes-respons...
> Resources Pertaining to K-12 Education. This memorandum has been published to share resources created by state and national organizations focused on K-12 education, and will be updated as more resources become available. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/resources-pertaining-k-12-educatio...
> High School and College Placement and Entrance Examination Delays. This memorandum provides scheduling updates on some of the country’s most relied upon placement and college entrance examinations and will be updated as more information becomes available. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/high-school-and-college-placement-...
> PERA's Automatic Adjustment Provision. Senate Bill 18-200, Modifications to the Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA) to Eliminate Unfunded Liability, included an automatic adjustment provision (AAP) that triggers when PERA's trusts are not on track to reach full funding within the targeted 30-year period. This issue brief discusses how the provision works and has been used since 2019. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/peras-automatic-adjustment-provisi...
> TABOR Emergency Provisions. This memorandum presents information on emergency fiscal provisions in Article X, Section 20, of the Colorado Constitution (TABOR). Specifically, it discusses the emergency reserve and emergency taxation provisions contained in subsections (5) and (6) of TABOR, respectively. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/tabor-emergency-provisions
> State Laws Pertaining to Quarantines. This issue brief focuses on human quarantines and provides a brief history of their use, as well as a discussion of state and federal law governing quarantine in Colorado. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/state-laws-pertaining-quarantines-...
> Cybersecurity concerns. As the situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly changes, unique cyber risks are emerging for government, businesses, and individuals. According to the Office of the Colorado Attorney General, there has been an increase in malicious activity related to COVID-19, such as emails asking for donations for a cure, websites selling fake COVID-19 tests, and fake COVID-19 maps that download malware when opened. Hackers are utilizing multiple online sources to try and take money and steal personal identifiable information (PII) during this uncertain situation
> The Office of the Colorado Attorney General has several recommendations to avoid potential COVID-19 scams, including deleting any emails from unknown sources about COVID-19, researching any websites that ask for donations to ensure their legitimacy, and staying informed about COVID-19 updates through official government websites like the Colorado Department of Public Health Care and Environment website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. More information about potential COVID-19 scams can be found here: https://coag.gov/app/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19_-Coronavirus-Scams.pdf
> COVID-19 Cybersecurity Concerns. This memorandum provides an overview of cybersecurity, the current threat landscape as a result of COVID-19, and provides information about COVID-19 cybersecurity resources.
> State and Local Cybersecurity Collaboration. This memorandum describes how some states find new ways to share cybersecurity knowledge and resources with their local governments to improve the state’s overall cybersecurity posture. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/state-and-local-cybersecurity-coll...
> Driver License Renewal. The Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) has issued an automatic 60-day driver license extension for Coloradans aged 21 to 64 whose license or ID will expire during the COVID-19 closure and are unable to renew online. Drivers aged 65 and over are temporarily able to renew online at: https://mydmv.colorado.gov/_/#2
> Commercial driver license (CDL) holders with HAZMAT endorsements and CDL driver permit holders whose licenses or permits are set to expire during the closure through April 30 will have them automatically extended for 60 days past their previous expiration date. DOR has sent out extension letters by mail to all residents who are set to renew licenses during the closure. Learn more about how the COVID-19 closure affects driver licenses at: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/how-covid-19-closure-affects-driver...
> Policies Concerning Longer Vehicle Combinations. On March 30, 2020, the Colorado Transportation Commission passed a resolution, temporarily suspending rules related to where Longer Vehicle Combinations may haul freight for 120 days in order to help move freight more efficiently to communities. Longer Vehicle Combinations are defined as commercial trucks hauling no more than three cargo trailers of specific lengths, depending on truck and trailer combinations. Trailers may have no fewer than six axles and no more than nine axles.
Longer Vehicle Combinations may now operate on the following highways during rush hour (7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.; and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday):
• I-25 between State Highway (SH) 83 (Academy Boulevard South and North)
• I-25 between I-225 and SH 128 (120th Avenue)
• I-70 between U.S. Highway 40/SH 26 and I-225
• I-76 between I-25 and U.S. Highway 85
• I-225 between I-25 and I-70
• I-270 between I-76 and I-70
• I-25 between Lake Avenue (Exit 94) and SH47/SH 50 (Exit 101)
CDOT issues permits for commercial trucks carrying larger loads on Colorado highways, https://www.codot.gov/business/permits/truckpermits. Larger loads may mean that the commercial truck weighs more; or the truck is longer, wider, or taller. The Transportation Commission web page includes the resolution and other documents, https://www.codot.gov/about/transportation-commission/approved-resolutio....
> Colorado's Unemployment Insurance Program. This memorandum provides an overview of Colorado’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program funding structure, standard UI benefits, and additional UI benefits under the 2020 federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/funding-structure-colorado%E2%80%9...
> Unemployment Insurance and Economic Downturns. This issue brief provides an overview of the Colorado unemployment insurance (UI) program, including UI benefits, funding, and solvency in the context of recent economic downturns. https://leg.colorado.gov/publications/unemployment-insurance-and-economi...
Should Coloradans prepare for further restrictions, such as shelter in place, closing of airports from all out-of-state travel, closing of roads into Colorado?
It is difficult to predict what restrictions will be put in place, either on a local level or statewide, during this state of emergency. According to a memorandum prepared by the Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS), the Governor's emergency powers under the Colorado Constitution are limited; however, his statutory emergency powers are broader, and include the ability to procure certain supplies, quarantine people and property, and inform citizens on how to protect themselves to control an epidemic. The OLLS memorandum concerning the Governor's emergency powers can be found through the following link: https://bit.ly/2QKOFoG.
On March 25, 2020, Governor Polis issued an Executive Order ordering Coloradans to stay at home whenever possible due to the presence of COVID-19 in the state. The original Executive Order went into effect on March 26, 2020, and was later extended until April 26, 2020. On April 26, 2020, Governor Polis issued an Executive Order entitled "Safer at Home" that allowed many Coloradans to return to work while maintaining a sustainable level of social distancing. The safer at home order was in effect for 30 days from April 27, 2020. On May 25, 2020, Governor Polis extended the safer at home order until June 1, 2020. On June 1, 2020, Governor Polis issued an Executive Order implementing a number of measures allowing many Coloradans to return to work and recreation in the great outdoors while maintaining a sustainable level of social distancing. Members of the public can stay abreast of the Governor's Executive Orders through the following website: https://www.colorado.gov/governor/2020-executive-orders and this LCS memo: http://leg.colorado.gov/publications/summary-governor%E2%80%99s-executiv.... Additional information about the stay-at-home order can be found here: https://covid19.colorado.gov/stay-home-except-essential-needs.
Are there any updates on cures, vaccines, or clothes to wear that are inhabitable to the COVID 19 virus, chemicals that can be used to kill the virus, or lessons learned from Asia?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are no FDA-approved vaccines to prevent COVID-19 or FDA-approved drugs to treat COVID-19. The FDA is working to speed development of COVID-19 treatments. On February 25, 2020, the National Institutes of Health began a randomized controlled trial for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and continues to work to help expedite additional clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments.
Additionally, on March 18, 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) made statements regarding the WHO's efforts to address treatments and possible vaccines for COVID-19. This includes working with countries with community transmission to apply lessons learned in South Korea and elsewhere, and launching the SOLIDARITY trial, which is an international clinical trial that aims to generate data from around the world to find the most effective treatments for COVID-19.
With regard to possible protective clothing, on April 3, 2020, Governor Polis asked that all Coloradans wear non-medical, cloth masks when they are outside their homes. On April 17, 2020, Governor Polis directed the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue a public health order requiring workers in critical businesses and critical government functions where the workers interact in close proximity with other employees or with the public to wear masks while working, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health. Additionally, these workers were directed to wear gloves, to the extent possible, when in contact with customers or goods, if gloves are provided to workers by their employer. The following link provides more information about making masks https://www.coloradomaskproject.com/.
Are there talks to mobilizing the Colorado National Guard and federal military to establish field hospitals in the event we are not able to reduce the increase in COVID-19?
It is unknown what specific tasks the Colorado National Guard and federal military will have during this state of emergency. The National Guard is available to both the Governor and Federal Emergency Management Agency Region Eight. Part of the mission of the Colorado National Guard is to assist local, state, and federal agencies to provide emergency medical service. Additionally, the Colorado National Guard has personnel who are trained and equipped experts in biological hazards. According to the Colorado National Guard, as of March 17, 2020, about 50 Colorado National Guard members have been mobilized by Governor Polis and are on state active duty to support the State Emergency Operations Center and CDPHE with medical support and logistics at drive-up COVID-19 testing centers in various communities throughout the state. On April 3, 2020, Governor Polis placed more than 250 Colorado National Guard members on state active duty to help the State Emergency Operations Center and the City and County of Denver to shelter people in Denver who are experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak. On April 17, 2020, Governor Polis announced that he is deploying the Colorado National Guard to conduct COVID-19 testing at the three largest nursing homes in the state. Information about the activities of the Colorado National Guard can be found through the following link: https://co.ng.mil/News/Archives/
Some small businesses may qualify for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest, long-term loans for physical and economic damage caused by a declared disaster. One of these loans is an Economic Injury Disasters Loan for small businesses, agricultural cooperatives, and private nonprofit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade has many resources on the following webpage related to state and federal COVID-19 announcements, programs, and information that may be relevant to Colorado businesses, including information about the SBA Economic Injury Disasters Loans: https://choosecolorado.com/covid19/.
COVID-19 is a new infectious disease that was first identified in 2019. While data are still being collected with regard to COVID-19, on March 11, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, testified to Congress that COVID-19 is currently estimated to kill at least ten people per 1,000 infected, which is about ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu, which kills about one person per 1,000 people who contract the flu. Additionally, there are concerns about how quickly the disease spreads, contagion rates, the lack of a vaccine or treatments, and potential pressures on the health care system.
Governor Polis issued Executive Order D2020 019 on March 27, 2020, "ordering the temporary suspension of the personal appearance requirement before notarial officers to perform notarizations due to the presence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Colorado." You may view the Executive Order in full at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c_QxNWMuZZbv-4keXDP_CCXjzULFxK6E/view.
The Secretary of State (SOS) will be issuing emergency rules this week setting forth the procedures and requirements for remote notarization in Colorado during this state of emergency. These rules will address implementation of the remote notarization process while including protections against identity theft and fraud. Information about the development of the rules may be found on the SOS website at https://www.sos.state.co.us/.
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Division of Insurance (DOI) released Bulletin No. B-4.105 Policy Directives for Small and Large Group Health Benefits Plans Related to COVID-19 on March 27, 2020, directing health insurance carriers that provide policies to small and large employers to be flexible around certain policy provisions for employees whose work hours are reduced, or who are laid off or furloughed. DOI directs carriers to waive the minimum number of employee work hours required for health insurance eligibility. The DOI guidance is to remain in effect for as long as the Governor's Executive Order related to the declaration of a disaster emergency remains in effect, or until the DOI rescinds the bulletin, whichever is later. Employers should contact their insurance carrier to determine the steps they need to take to implement the directives provided for in the DOI bulletin.
The DOI bulletin may be accessed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VeVORK_6-1dEAXP6TDbKZ33gyD5vSc3D/view
The Governor's amended public health order 20-24, dated March 26, 2020, implemented several stay-at-home-requirements. Certain critical businesses are exempt from the order, subject to certain limitations, and are encouraged to remain open. Critical businesses must comply with social distancing requirements at all times and implement tele-work or other strategies, such as staggered schedules or re-designing workplaces, to create more distance between workers unless doing so would make it impossible to carry out critical functions. The entire list of critical businesses can be found starting on page 5 of the order. Construction is listed as a critical business, including "skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, and other related firms and professionals for who provide services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences, and other essential services." "Agriculture/farms" is also listed as a critical business category. The public health order is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/18n2zIw1XdqYHzU-aRqAFBK3pEsaRxmV4/view
Access-a-Ride changes. The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is offering grocery delivery to Access-a-Ride customers. Customers may order food and schedule a pick-up time with specific stores and food banks. After ordering and scheduling with the store or food bank, customers can call Access-a-Ride reservations to schedule the pick-up and delivery of food. See RTD’s Access-a-Ride web page for additional information about this and other updates, https://www.rtd-denver.com/services/access-a-ride.
Fares and passenger boarding. RTD has temporarily suspended fares on buses and light rail. In addition, when boarding and exiting, RTD passengers must use the rear door, unless disabled and in need of ADA assistance. RTD recommends social distancing while using the bus or light rail. Drivers will call dispatch for additional buses if larger crowds form along a route. Visit RTD’s website for the latest COVID-19 updates, https://www.rtd-denver.com/coronavirus.
Schedule changes. RTD is currently operating on a regular schedule for essential travel. Current schedules may be found on RTD’s schedule page, https://www.rtd-denver.com/app/schedules .
Effective April 19, 2020, and through September 2020, RTD is implementing a reduced schedule plan. Many bus routes will run on a Saturday or regional schedule with reduced trips, with some routes to discontinue. Light rail will operate on a Sunday schedule. Find the reduced service plan on RTD’s schedule web page, https://www.rtd-denver.com/service-changes/covid-19-service-plan.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed in March 2020, among other things, provides relief for federal student loan borrowers. The CARES Act enforces changes to the federal student loan program that include an automatic administrative forbearance for all borrowers and an elimination of loan interest rates until September 30, 2020. Read the U.S. Department of Education’s website on COVID-19 resources for borrowers, students, and parents for more information. https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus
See the Colorado Attorney General’s website for guidance on loans serviced at the state level. https://coag.gov/office-sections/consumer-protection/consumer-credit-uni...
How can a child care facility become part of the Colorado Emergency Child Care Collaborative (Collaborative)?
This emergency child care program is a public-private partnership working to provide child care for essential workers. The state's participation in the Collaborative is being run by the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). Information from CDHS about the Collaborative can be found here http://coloradoofficeofearlychildhood.force.com/oec/OEC_Resources?p=Reso.... Included on that page is information about payment to providers, as well as information on guidance and guidelines child care providers need to be following. To be reimbursed for care, providers must utilize the software approved by CDHS to receive payment. CDHS reports the software should be set-up within the next three weeks, and they will be sending out additional details once they are available.
General information about the Collaborative, including frequently updated information, can be found here https://covidchildcarecolorado.com/. Also accessible from that website is information about how children will be matched with providers, and how providers will be alerted as to this match. That information is accessed here https://covidchildcarecolorado.com/matching-faqs/#. If there are additional questions about licensing or public health that are not answered on the Emergency Child Care Collaborative website or the CDHS website, you can email email@example.com.
The Colorado Department of Human Services is the licensing agency for child care centers. Licensing does not regulate parental fees, but does require programs to list their fee schedule and procedures around fee collection in the policies provided to parents. For questions about fees, you should refer to your program's policies and work with them on payment. Licensing could investigate a complaint if a facility was not abiding by its policies. The contact number for the Department of Human Services is 303-866-5700.
There are a number of rental assistance resources offered by government and nonprofit organizations to those currently experiencing a housing crisis. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs has developed and implemented a website to keep updated resources and information available for persons impacted by COVID-19. This site provides information on eviction prevention for individuals and families, and resources for persons experiencing homelessness and service providers. Please visit https://cdola.colorado.gov/housing-covid19 to see a list of resources.
To find organizations that offer rent assistance and other housing resources, individuals may call 2-1-1 or visit the state 2-1-1 website at: https://search.211colorado.org/search?terms=rent%20payment%20assistance&...
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment also maintains a list of resources for rental assistance. To view these resources, go to https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/more-assistance and scroll down to “Rent Assistance.”
For those living in the City of Denver, the city offers the Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program (TRUA) to residents facing a housing crisis. TRUA may cover up to 80% of rental costs for persons who qualify. To request assistance or to get more information, visit: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/housing-information/resid... or call 3-1-1 and then press 6.
For persons living in the Denver Metro Area, Colorado Housing Connects can help individuals find appropriate housing resources. Call 1-844-926-6632 or visit their website at http://www.coloradohousingconnects.org/affordable-housing.html.
Lastly, individuals may contact their local housing authority to see what programs the authority offers. Contact information for local housing authorities can be found at: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PIH/documents/PHA_Contact_Report_CO.pdf. A list of housing authority websites can be found at: https://www.hud.gov/states/colorado/renting/hawebsites.
Yes, and there is an urgent need for donated blood. The volume of blood donations nationally has decreased sharply due to the cancellation of blood drives. Blood banks are designated as critical businesses under Colorado’s Stay-at-Home order, which permits them to operate as normal while in compliance with all public health orders currently in effect. Blood donation centers are experienced at preventing the spread of infectious disease, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended protocols to facilitate safe blood donation during the COVID-19 outbreak.
To donate blood, find a local blood donation site through one of the following organizations. Making an appointment ahead of time is recommended.
America’s Blood Centers: https://americasblood.org/for-donors/find-a-blood-center/
American Red Cross: https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive
What do I need to know about filing and eligibility for unemployment benefits and pandemic unemployment assistance?
> Where do I file for unemployment in Colorado?
Unemployment insurance benefits are administered by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). You can access information about applying for benefits, eligibility, as well as find information about available jobs here: https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/unemployment
> Who is eligible for unemployment benefits?
Anyone who has become unemployed or had their hours reduced below 32 hours per week may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Following the passage of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, individuals who have lost their jobs as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for increased unemployment benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In addition, under this new federal law, self-employed, independent contractors, gig-economy workers, and employees of nonprofit churches or other religious organizations, or who are requesting an extension of benefits may also be eligible for unemployment benefits.
> Who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?
· Workers who are self-employed, independent contractors, and 1099 workers
· Workers who are unable to go to their place of employment due to Executive Order
· Workers who were scheduled to start work and do not have a job as a result of COVID-19
· Workers who have had to quit their job because of COVID-19
· Individuals who have become the major support for a household because the head of household died from COVID-19
> The following individuals may be eligible for unemployment assistance after they have exhausted their paid sick leave, emergency paid sick leave, and paid family medical leave from their employer.
· Workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19
· Workers who have a member of their household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
· Workers who are unable to reach their place of employment due an advisory to self-quarantine
· Workers who are primary caregivers for a child or other person who cannot attend school or another facility due to COVID-19
> How much money will I be eligible for?
Colorado unemployment benefits cover about 55 percent of a worker’s salary. In addition, individuals who qualify for the PUA may be eligible for an additional $600 per week. The federal stimulus package will also provide a one-time payment of $1,200 to individual taxpayers earning less than $75,000 adjusted gross income. That payment will not affect an individual’s unemployment benefit.
> When will I receive my unemployment benefits?
Although Colorado has waived the one-week waiting period for receiving unemployment benefits, CDLE is currently in the process of implementing new federal guidance before implementing the new requirements. Individuals who are eligible for regular unemployment may currently submit claims. Individuals with other COVID-19 related claims must wait to file a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Claim.
On March 20, 2020, Governor Polis issued Executive Order D 2020-012,https://www.colorado.gov/governor/sites/default/files/inline-files/D%202.... One of the purposes of the order is to limit evictions and foreclosures during the public health emergency that was declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order does the following:
· directs state agencies to work with property owners and landlords to avoid eviction procedures against tenants due to late payments until April 30, 2020;
· directs the Department of Public Safety to work with local law enforcement and governments to suspend residential eviction activity until April 30, 2020;
· directs $3 million from the Disaster Emergency Fund to be distributed to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to provide short-term rental and mortgage assistance to low-income households facing financial hardship due to COVID-19;
· directs various state agencies to share resources and funding options (especially for low-income households) with property owners related to rental and mortgage assistance programs; and
· directs the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) to encourage financial institutions to halt foreclosures and related evictions that result from COVID-19.
The Governor issued Executive Order D 2020-051, https://www.colorado.gov/governor/sites/default/files/inline-files/D%202... on April 30, 2020, to extend and amend his original order. The new order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for violation of a rental agreement, unless the tenant poses a serious threat to others or causes significant property damage. The order also:
· prohibits landlords and lenders from charging late fees or penalties due to nonpayment of rent;
· requires landlords to notify tenants of federal protections against eviction that are included in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act); and
· directs DOLA and DORA to work with property owners and landlords to create model repayment agreements to allow tenants additional time to repay rent.
The order does not relieve individuals from their obligation to pay rent or mortgage, or abide by other contract terms of their lease or mortgage. The provisions of the order expire 30 days after the order was issued.
The federal CARES Act, which became law on March 27, 2020, provides protections against eviction and foreclosure for certain individuals. Individuals who have federally backed mortgage loans are protected from foreclosure and can request a loan payment forbearance for up to 180 days, due to economic hardship. Tenants who reside in certain federal housing programs or housing voucher programs are protected from eviction for 120 days beginning on March 27. More information about the CARES Act housing provisions is available on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website here: https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus/homeowners.
More information and resources about state rental and mortgage assistance may be found on the DOLA website here https://cdola.colorado.gov/housing-covid19. Renters may also contact their local housing authority to see what programs the authority offers. Contact information for local housing authorities can be found online here Finally, individuals may contact their landlord, property owner, or financial institution directly to discuss payment options.
Has recent federal legislation made changes to health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts?
The recently enacted federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, included some changes to health savings accounts (HSAs), health care flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) funds that increase the products that are eligible for reimbursement. However, the CARES Act does not include any type of extension for using the funds. Extensions are not an issue for HSAs because the funds remain in the individual’s account until used.
Under the CARES Act, funds in HSAs and health care FSAs can now be used to pay for over-the-counter medical products without a prescription. Menstrual care products were added as eligible expenses for HSA, FSA, and HRA funds. The inclusion of over-the-counter medical products and menstrual care products is retroactive to January 1, 2020. For health care FSAs, current law also allows employers to carry over up to $500 into the next year, or add a grace period for funds to be spent during the first two and a half months of the following year.
Although dependent care FSAs were not addressed under the CARES Act, under current law, contribution elections may be changed if there is a qualifying event that includes a change in the cost of care. If child care facilities are closed, that may be considered a change in the cost of care. Employees should check with their benefits manager to see if contributions for the remainder of the year can be reduced to reflect the change in the child care situation.
Does recently enacted federal legislation affect minimum distributions from retirement accounts for tax year 2020?
The federal CARES Act suspends required minimum distributions from IRA plans, 401(k) plans, and other defined contribution retirement plans for tax year 2020. This means that retirees can choose either to make distributions of less than the normal required minimum, or not to make distributions at all, in order to allow their accounts to recover and/or to avoid incurring a federal or state tax obligation for all or a portion of the amount that would otherwise be distributed.
The change is found in Section 2203 of the CARES Act online here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text#toc-HC8...
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has issued a guidance document for physicians reentering the workforce in Colorado amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor has directed DORA to take steps to expand workforce capacity for the health care system to assist communities in addressing the disaster emergency, and to protect the public health and safety in light of the risks associated with COVID-19. You can find the guidance document at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LnxSIizNDphlKGXiOhg1PVJfgbzWsvKZRkFY...
What do I need to know about stimulus payments provided to citizens under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act?
> Who is eligible for payments?
Individuals who have a valid social security number, who are not claimed as dependents on someone else’s tax return, and whose income is below a certain level will get stimulus payments.
> How much is it worth?
Eligible individuals whose annual adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less will receive a one-time payment of $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples filing jointly). The size of payments will decrease by 5 percent for any income over $75,000 per year for individuals so that individuals whose annual adjusted gross income exceeds $99,000 (or $198,000 for married couples) will not get a payment. Families will get an additional $500 for each child younger than age 17.
> Who will automatically receive a stimulus payment?
People who filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, people who receive Social Security retirement income, disability income (SSDI), or survivor benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits will automatically receive stimulus payments. If the IRS has a bank account on file, your stimulus payment may be posted directly to your bank account. Otherwise, the payment will arrive as a check in the mail.
People receiving Social Security retirement, disability, or survivor benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits and who have a qualifying dependent child will need to access the non-filers tool (discussed below) to receive $500 per qualifying child. The tool is available here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here.
Individuals qualifying for other federal assistance programs may also receive automatic payments as IRS procedures evolve.
> What if I do not automatically receive a stimulus payment?
People who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and who do not receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits will need to provide the IRS with some basic information by accessing the IRS web tool here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here. By clicking the button, “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here,” you will be taken to a secure website where you can submit the required information. For more information about how to use the non-filers tool, visit: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-irs-launch-new-tool-to-help-non-fi....
> Will stimulus payments be taxed?
Stimulus payments will not be taxed and do not count toward future taxable income. Additionally, these payments will not count toward eligibility for means-tested programs and will not be counted as a resource for the purpose of determining benefits received under Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Your payments from these programs should not be impacted.
> How can I check on the status of my payment?
You can check the status of your stimulus payment by using the “Get My Payment” tool available here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. People who did not use direct deposit on their last return will be able to input bank account information to receive the payment more quickly by direct deposit instead of by mail. For security purposes, the tool does not allow people to change bank account information that is already on file with the IRS.
> Will the IRS contact me about my payment?
The IRS will not call, text, email or contact you on social media about stimulus payments. Due to a rise in fraudulent activity, the IRS advises not to provide personal or bank account information or click on links or attachments in response to any communications via these means. If you have questions about your eligibility or the status of a payment, visit the IRS website directly: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.
The IRS does plan to mail a letter about the payments to your last known address within 15 days after the payment is sent. The letter will provide confirmation of the payment, as well as information on how to report any failure to receive the payment.
> How can I get more help with my stimulus payment?
For further information and updates about stimulus payments, which the IRS calls "Economic Impact Payments," visit the IRS webpage: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center.
What do I need to know about extensions for motor vehicle registrations and other COVID-19 impacts to motor vehicle services?
All vehicle registrations are done at the county level. However, per the Governor's Executive Order, the state is allowing counties to waive late fees for vehicle registration and renewals. This waiver exists for the entire period of the Governor's Executive Order, which is currently until April 26, 2020, plus 60 days. If customers are unable to renew or register their vehicle online, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is asking drivers to complete a registration extension form at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScAKTsVcuyVm69sb6Q4KMMtNyzBsr-h...
You can find other updates on how COVID-19 affects motor vehicle services on the DMV's website at: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/how-covid-19-closure-affects-vehicl...
What new COVID-19 policies are in place regarding the oversight and activities of the Public Utilities Commission?
Contacting the PUC. The PUC is available by phone at 303-894-2000, and email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries regarding permits and insurance outside of metro Denver may be placed with 800-888-0170. Access to PUC offices is limited until further notice. Members of the public may provide comments to the PUC at puc.colorado.gov/puccomments.
Submitting paperwork to the PUC. Submit all applications and filings through the PUC’s E-filings System until further notice, https://www.dora.state.co.us/pls/efi/EFI.homepage. Please do not submit hand delivery or mailed filings at this time. Responses from the PUC and other correspondence may see delays. See new requirements for attestations and affidavits and service of process.
Commissioners' weekly meetings. Meetings occur by remote connection instead of in-person until further notice. The public may access live audio from the webcasting page. Audio recordings from weekly meetings are available 24 hours after the meeting.
Policies concerning towing. Operators towing vehicles from private property where a vehicle owner did not agree to the tow are temporarily limited on the fees they may charge vehicle owners. Vehicle owners will not pay for mileage, fuel, or daily storage. The PUC adopted a temporary rule on April 1, 2020, effective April 2, 2020 to April 27, 2020.
Policies concerning common and/or contract carriers. Common carriers experiencing an interruption in scheduled services must post a notice on their website and file a written report with the PUC. Common or contract carriers needing to suspend service must submit an application to the PUC. Common carriers offer scheduled and/or call-and-demand services, such as taxis and shuttles. Contract carriers provide service in a contract to address unique customer needs at a price not less than that of existing common carriers.
Limits on public utility disconnections. On March 20, 2020, Governor Jared Polis issued an Executive Order that included limitations on disconnection of utilities, such as electricity, gas, or water. The Executive Order is on the Governor’s website, Executive Order 2020-012. The PUC is collecting and monitoring data from public utilities on the implementation of measures to respond to the order. The PUC created a spreadsheet to capture the data, updated weekly as necessary, included on its website.
Visit the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) website for updates related to COVID-19, https://puc.colorado.gov/puc_covid19.