As the state sees a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Jared Polis urged Coloradans to do better at wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing and practicing preventative measures.

Failure to do so could result in further devastation to human life, local businesses, and the economy, he said, adding that “complacency needs to end.”

Polis said Tuesday the steps Coloradans have taken so far during the pandemic have allowed the state to be relatively successful, both from a virus management perspective and an economic standpoint.

Colorado’s small businesses have performed slightly better than national averages on key metrics, including making payments like rent, payroll, utilities and loans, the number of employee hours worked and the number of employees retained. 

Colorado’s unemployment rate, while high, is three points lower than the national average. 

“That is not some unique Colorado factor,” Polis said. “It’s simply a function of our individual devisions and actions. And this should be a warning that we need to do a bit better, because our current trajectory is not one that is sustainable for many months.”

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Polis said that in terms of Payroll Protection Program loans, Colorado has been able to secure more than its share of loans relative to its population. In a final push for applicants, the governor highlighted that there’s $129 billion in PPP loans still available for small businesses that need aid. Businesses can apply until Aug. 8 and can visit choosecolorado.com for more information.

Polis also recapped actions taken by the General Assembly during the 2020 legislative session, many of which focused on supporting Coloradans during the pandemic. These bills included direct housing assistance, help with utility bills, loans and grants for small businesses, assistance for people struggling with behavioral health issues and domestic violence, and paid sick leave.

To protect each other and the state’s economy going forward, Polis said, Coloradans need to do “just a bit better.”

“I think some of us got a bit complacent going into late June and early July, and that complacency needs to end,” he said.

“The bottom line is this: the key to greater economic and social activity is to get the simple things right, like wearing a mask when you’re around others and staying 6 feet apart in your interactions.

“The fate of Colorado — in both virus suppression and economic recovery —  is in your hands.”

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