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Coronavirus FAQs


This page will be updated with answers to frequently asked questions that the City of Boulder receives.

What are the city's face covering requirements at businesses?

On April 28, Boulder City Council approved  requiring all individuals to wear a face covering  inside businesses that operate any public accommodation. City Boulder  emergency order 2020-15  requires businesses to ensure employees, vendors and customers wear non-medical face coverings. Employees who do not come into contact with the public are not required to wear such face coverings. Persons with medical conditions, and with a doctor’s note, who cannot wear a face covering are exempt.

How do I report a violation of the face coverings requirement? 

To report a city business in violation, email  [email protected] .

How many cases of COVID-19 are there currently?

The State of Colorado provides a daily update on the number of COVID-19 cases in the state and each county at  covid19.colorado.gov/data .

I am concerned that Boulder Community Hospital and the other hospitals in Boulder County will not have adequate beds, equipment, supplies, or staffing to handle an influx of ill patients. What is being done to address this?

Boulder Community Hospital is one of more than a half-dozen hospitals in Boulder County. While the cause of the illness is different, the symptoms and treatments are consistent with what the hospitals deal with on a regular basis for influenza and pneumonia, and their staffs are well-trained and experienced to deal with the current outbreak.

To be ready for an anticipated increase in critically-ill patients, elective care and surgeries at the hospitals have been postponed, and the hospitals and Boulder County Public Health are prepared to activate well-established service expansion plans and protocols, should additional space or care become necessary.  The greatest need of our hospitals now is for residents to practice social distancing and, when necessary, self-quarantine, to slow the spread of the disease. If we do this, new cases coming in to the hospitals will present over a more lengthy period of time, allowing the hospitals to treat and discharge affected patients before new ones arrive. For more information about Boulder Community Hospital’s preparedness and advice, go to www.bch.org

Some jurisdictions have announced that they will test most or all residents for coronavirus infection. Why isn’t Boulder doing this?

Boulder County Public Health has advised us that testing is not medically-indicated at this time for people who are not experiencing symptoms. For more information from Boulder County Public Health, go to  www.bouldercounty.org/departments/public-health .

Can the city abate my property taxes, or the taxes paid by my landlord which are passed on to me?

Property taxes are collected by the county and the due date of the property tax is governed by state law. Only the state can defer the due date. Taxes paid after the due date accrue an interest penalty. For more information about the payment of property taxes in Boulder County, go to www.bouldercounty.org/property-and-land/treasurer/taxes .

I need a city inspection for a construction project. Is this service still available from the city?

Building and Right-of-Way Permit Inspection services are limited while city buildings are closed. These inspections may be performed on-site or using remote video (virtual) methods to limit exposure of both city staff and the public to COVID-19. Please visit our Planning and Development Services page for a list of available remote inspections.

Is city construction and transportation maintenance still taking place (i.e. street and median maintenance)?

Yes, as construction and maintenance are classified as essential services. The city's construction and maintenance projects will continue due to several factors, including financing, contract deadlines and public need. The city and its partners are committed to community safety and will be following social and physical distancing guidelines. For your safety and adherence to the stay-at-home order, do not approach construction zones or workers. Staff will be prioritizing urgent issues during this time and non-essential maintenance may experience a delayed response. We appreciate your patience and look forward to continuing to serve the community. 

If I operate a business that collects sales taxes from customers, can I retain those tax receipts to help ease the adverse effects of business downturn, promising to pay them later?

No. The sales taxes you collected were paid by your customers, and you hold them in trust before turning them over to the city and state on the due dates. It is a violation of law for you to “borrow” or otherwise use sales taxes paid by your customers, no matter how good you may believe the reason to be. There are other sources of loans to small businesses affected by the current crisis. For more information about remittance of sales and use taxes, go to bouldercolorado.gov/tax-license/sales-and-use-tax.

What is considered a face covering and when do I need to wear one?

A face covering:

  • refers to a covering made of cloth, fabric or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face
  • may be factory-made or handmade and improvised by using ordinary household materials
  • should fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face, allowing for breathing without restriction
  • may either be constructed of disposable mask materials or include multiple layers of fabric that can be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape

City of Boulder  emergency order 2020-15  requires businesses to ensure employees, vendors and customers wear non-medical face coverings. Additionally, Boulder County’s facial covering order is in effect through June 30. Under this order, masks must be worn anywhere in public, including the outdoors, when six feet of distance cannot be maintained. Persons with medical conditions, and with a doctor’s note, who cannot wear a face covering are exempt. To report a City of Boulder business in violation, email  [email protected] .

More information on face coverings, including cleaning instructions can be found on BoulderCounty.org  on their COVID-19 pages.

 

How do I make my own face covering?

Patterns, instructional videos and other resources for making a face covering can be found on ColoradoMaskProject.com/how-to-help#make. Solutions can be found to accommodate a variety of skill levels. 

 

Where can I buy a face covering or masks for myself, organization or business?

A variety of vendors and organizations can be found at  ColoradoMaskProject.com/resources-partners#buy . Organizations that cannot afford to purchase face coverings can make a request for donations at  forms.gle/Z8Q16YRm1bo1koWF9

 

Where can I donate homemade face coverings or materials?

Individuals may donate homemade sewn face coverings (clean and placed in bags) and other materials to create face coverings (cotton fabric, elastic, thread, floral wire) to designated local donation boxes. Donated materials will be used by volunteers making face coverings for local non-profit organizations serving community members in need.

  • Boulder County Public Health between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, outside the Public Health office at 3450 Broadway in Boulder.
  • Boulder Jewish Community Center at 6007 Oreg Avenue, Boulder CO between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Friday. Supplies can be placed in the bin next to the door, or on the table in the courtyard.
  • Equilter at 6201 Spine Rd, (Gunbarrel) Boulder CO between 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. Accepting only sewn face coverings (no fabrics or other materials) in collection bin in front of building.
  • King Soopers Gunbarrel at 6550 Lookout Road, Boulder, CO is accepting donations of materials only (no sewn face coverings) in collection box near the main doors.

 

Are there face-covering-making groups I can join?

A list of groups can be found at ColoradoMaskProject.com/resources-partners#rescource and below These groups may also accept donations of materials. Contact them for details and specifications.

  • Boulder County Emergency Volunteer Group. A Boulder County-coordinated group of individual volunteers sewing face coverings, with distribution prioritized through an equity lens for groups serving marginalized, high-risk, low-income residents, including children. Interested volunteers should contact Mary Eldred, [email protected]
  • Boulder Mask Makers – An active community for Boulder makers; makers elect individually to commit to posted requests for sewn face coverings.
  • MasksNOW - Boulder, CO chapter; makers elect individually to commit to posted requests for sewn face coverings.

 

Do you have additional face covering questions?

Submit your inquiry here.

Also check the list of resources available at  bouldercolorado.gov/coronavirus-resources-for-individuals-and-families

 

Will charitable community partners and other organizations still provide services to help with basic needs?

The City of Boulder is carefully tracking the needs of our community members relating to impacts from the COVID-19 coronavirus. This work is occurring in close coordination with Boulder County and the many community partners that provide services meeting the basic needs of the community. The link below is a summary of programs provided by the City of Boulder, Boulder County and key community partner agencies. 

Note that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department has determined that the use of COVID-19 public resources will not be counted against immigrants who are subject to “public charge” grounds of inadmissibility when applying for Green Cards. 

How can I find assistance with food and grocery items? 

Depending on your needs, there are a variety of programs that are available to Boulder residents. View options from food pantries, prepared meal delivery, food vouchers and shopping services in the links below.  

How do I find out if I qualify for SNAP (food stamps) or find a food bank? 

Find a list of food banks, food pantries, food programs and organizations that can help you to evaluate and qualify for assistance programs at the links below. 

Are medical offices open where I can see a Doctor, Dentist or Mental Health professional? 

Medial offices are open, but you should call first. Some may be limiting the types of appointments they are scheduling. If you are feeling sick you should first call your doctor. If you do not have a regular care provider but you need physical, dental or mental health care, please click the links below for local providers.  

I still have to work, but I can’t find childcare. Are there any places still open? 

There are several programs available to address the affordability and availability of childcare through the City of Boulder, Boulder County and the State of Colorado. Click the link below for more information. 

How do I file a discrimination complaint related to COVID-19?

A person’s ethnicity, language or association with a country or region is not a risk factor for the coronavirus. Health officials have also emphasized that concern about COVID-19 is not a reason to deny care to a patient. Any discrimination incident that may be motivated by another person’s race, color, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity is considered a Human Rights Violation. Follow these steps to file a discrimination complaint .

Who can I call if I am experiencing domestic violence and need help? 

Information on reporting suspected abuse or resources for those experiencing domestic violence can be found in the link below. Counseling and emergency housing are available but no walk-in services are available at this time. 

 Who should I call if I have witnessed or suspect child abuse? 

Emergency cases that are life-threatening should be reported to law enforcement by calling 911. Click the link below for more information on reporting suspected abuse or resources for those experiencing domestic violence. 

How can I help maintain the city’s essential systems?

Do not flush wet wipes or paper towels of any kind down the toilet. These items do not break down and can clog pipes, damage pumps and block sewer lines. Keeping these items out of the wastewater system will help to prevent disruptions to the city’s wastewater systems, costly equipment repairs and sewer overflows at homes or offices.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only toilet paper should be flushed to help ensure that toilets, plumbing, sewer systems and septic systems will continue working properly to safely manage our nation’s wastewater.

Will the city come to my home to collect utility bill payments?

No, city staff will not come to your home during the coronavirus pandemic to collect utility bill payments. If someone does visit your residence requesting utility payments, do not give them money as it is probably a scam. City employees would not request immediate payment from community members at their doorway. The city is working to make sure that scams are exposed and that the community has the most factual information possible. Please take precautions against fraudulent activities.

Check with trusted resources first, including the City of Boulder , Utilities United and Boulder County Public Health before taking action.

For more information related to utility scams, visit the link below.

Are there changes to the city’s utility billing policy?

The city is committed to its core value of community safety and is proactively taking steps to keep the community safe. This commitment includes maintaining essential water services (for drinking, handwashing and wastewater) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Community members experiencing economic impacts related to COVID-19 should call 303-441-3260 or email [email protected] to discuss a plan for their utility bill payment. 

Will the city’s water services be affected by the situation?

The city’s drinking water supply and wastewater treatment services will not be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Utilities Department is actively working to ensure there will be no disruption to city water services.

Is City of Boulder drinking water safe to drink?

The city’s current, standard drinking water treatment methods assure a complete disinfection process, with no threat of drinking water becoming a source of the virus.

Is City of Boulder wastewater safe?

Our wastewater recovery process uses an ultraviolet light disinfection system to assure the destruction of viruses before water is returned to Boulder Creek. 

Visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s coronavirus information web page to learn more.

I've heard COVID-19 Can be detected in wastewater. Is Boulder performing wastewater testing for COVID-19?

Yes. The City of Boulder is one of a growing number of municipalities across the state and nation participating in a wastewater surveillance program to learn more about COVID-19 occurrences. In May, the city began analyzing samples of raw wastewater entering the Water Resource Recovery Facility in an effort to detect COVID-19 indicators within our community.

The city has partnered with Biobot Analytics for the sample analysis. Biobot works with cities across the country to develop an early warning system for health departments and communities by analyzing what is in the water. The city is also coordinating with Boulder County Public Health to review the findings and to evaluate trends over time. We have not yet determined how the information will be shared with the community. Refinements in the sampling, testing and reporting methodologies are taking place as experts learn more about this critical issue.

In addition to the program led by Biobot, the city is currently working with a Colorado collaboration group of 15 Colorado utilities (including Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Broomfield, Longmont and Louisville). This group has led discussions with the State Health Department (CDPHE) and local universities on developing an in-state program that will allow more rapid testing results and be more economical.

I'm a business owner. How can I refresh the water in my building before it reopens?

Follow our steps here . Without people regularly using water in a building, water quality can degrade as the water sits stagnant in internal pipes. As offices and businesses reopen, building and business owners can flush internal piping to clear out stagnant water and bring in fresh water from the city’s water distribution system.

I am worried I won't be able to pay my bills. Where should I start looking for help?

The federal government offers a variety of programs to help in times of unemployment and crisis. Click on the link below for a list of programs.

Also consider that applying for healthcare and food benefits can help to reduce financial burdens.

What is the city doing to assist people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 global pandemic?

Over the past several weeks, city Housing and Human Services staff have worked with countywide partners to plan care and prevention for people experiencing homelessness during COVID-19. A two-phase plan has been developed and implemented.  

  • Phase I encompassed a reorganization of services to allow increased social separation within existing facilities and increased infection control. 

Phase I was implemented on March 16 and includes the movement of the Path to Home Navigation program to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (4869 Broadway) and Coordinated Entry services access to telephone only. 

BSH has been functioning below capacity limits in anticipation of a future inclusion of navigation services and there are adequate beds to house these functions. These changes allowed for Severe Weather Shelter (2691 30th Street) to be re-organized to space their 72 beds throughout the entire facility, significantly increasing social distancing and infection control. Severe Weather Shelter operations have been extended through April 30. 

  • Phase II involved the development of a separate shelter called the COVID-19 Recovery Center (CRC) for clients that are symptomatic of COVID-19. This is not a medical treatment facility but a facility to allow time for individuals to recover. 

Phase II was implemented on March 20 with the opening of the COVID-19 Recovery Center (CRC). At CRC, symptomatic or positive COVID-19 tested individuals can recover in a 24-hour facility that provides proper distanced space. Homeless shelters have begun daily screenings for clients and will be identifying individuals who require further care. The CRC is not a walk-up service, and individuals must be screened through an existing shelter program.  

Individuals needing any shelter service are strongly encouraged to contact Coordinated Entry at 303-579-4404.   

Where should people experiencing homelessness go during this emergency?

People should call  Coordinated Entry  at 303-579-4404 to discuss year-round programs and shelter options. Coordinated Entry is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Tuesdays, when it is open from noon to 4 p.m. Coordinated Entry services are currently located at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (4869 Broadway). People can only access Coordinated Entry by calling 303-579-4404.  

Severe Weather Shelter   (2691 30th Street) will continue to be offered every night through April 30. After April 30 and through May 31, SWS will only be open if triggered by severe weather thresholds. There is a strict 72-person limit for Severe Weather Shelter. 

People that have already been assessed and referred to a program should continue attending evening shelter at their assigned program location. Program staff will offer instructions to individuals if there are changes to program locations or procedures. 

Are shelters accepting clients who are ill or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19? 

All shelters are screening clients prior to entering one of the shelters. Clients that are shown to be symptomatic following screening are transferred to the COVID-19 Recovery Center (CRC) where they can be monitored and given adequate time to rest and recover. This is not a medical facility, but clients will be monitored by clinicians, staff and volunteers. Those that need medical attention will be transferred to a hospital. This shelter is not a walk-up service and requires screening at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, Severe Weather Shelter, HOPE in Longmont or referral from a hospital or clinic before entry.    

Will Shelter and Navigation Services remain open?

Yes, Path to Home Navigation and Housing Focused Shelter are both currently located at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (4869 Broadway).  

Coordinated Entry services will continue to be offered and can be access by telephone. Individuals that need shelter are strongly encouraged to contact Coordinated Entry at 303-579-4404 to be assessed over the phone.  

Severe Weather Shelter  (2691 30th Street) will continue to be offered every night through April 30. After April 30 and through May 31, SWS will only be open if triggered by severe weather thresholds. There is a strict 72-person limit for Severe Weather Shelter. 

If public buildings are closed, where will unsheltered persons go to get warm in cold weather?

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (4869 Broadway) and Severe Weather Shelter (2691 30th Street) are currently open nightly. In addition, limited restroom, hand washing and shower access will be provided at Severe Weather Shelter from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mon.-Fri. Access to this day service is controlled, and all persons using these services will be health-screened prior to entry. 

What health and safety guidelines are being implemented at shelter and group meal locations?

Boulder shelters have implemented Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measures at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (4869 Broadway), Severe Weather Shelter (2691 30th Street) and the COVID-19 Recovery Center. 

Will shelter programs still require six months of Boulder County residency?

Diversion Services, available through Coordinated Entry, and Severe Weather Shelter (2691 30th Street) are available to people who have been in the community for less than six months. 

Year-round programs, including Housing Focused Shelter and Path to Home Navigation, are available to people who have been in Boulder County for more than six months.  

Where can I find help paying my rent or my mortgage? 

First, contact your landlord or mortgage company to inquire about available options, including a payment plan, temporary rent reduction, early termination of the lease, substitute services for rent or other solutions. Document any agreement in writing.

Currently, there is one local organization that provides payment assistance. Click the links below for more information.

Additional resources may be available through Boulder County.

I may be facing an eviction or foreclosure very soon. Are these on hold during the pandemic?  

The State of Colorado has announced a freeze on certain legal actions related to housing and local courts are not hearing most of these cases. 

The City of Boulder also offers mediation for landlords and tenants. For more information, click the links below. 

Can the city abate my property taxes, or the taxes paid by my landlord which are passed on to me? 

Property taxes are collected by the county and the due date of the property tax is governed by state law. Only the state can defer the due date. Taxes paid after the due date accrue an interest penalty. For more information about the payment of property taxes in Boulder County, go to   www.bouldercounty.org/property-and-land/treasurer/taxes  . 

I need a city inspection for a construction project. Is this service still available from the city? 

Building and Right-of-Way Permit Inspection services are limited while city buildings are closed. These inspections may be performed on-site or using remote video (virtual) methods to limit exposure of both city staff and the public to COVID-19. Please visit our  Planning and Development Services  page for a list of available remote inspections.

If I operate a business that collects sales taxes from customers, can I retain those tax receipts to help ease the adverse effects of business downturn, promising to pay them later? 

No. The sales taxes you collected were paid by your customers and you hold them in trust before turning them over to the city and state on the due dates. It is a violation of law for you to “borrow” or otherwise use sales taxes paid by your customers, no matter how good you may believe the reason to be. There are other sources of loans to small businesses affected by the current crisis. For more information about remittance of sales and use taxes, go to   bouldercolorado.gov/tax-license/sales-and-use-tax .

How can I volunteer to help my community during the public health crisis?

Most volunteer needs and requests are being funneled through the State of Colorado’s  Help Colorado Now  website at this time, due to the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado. The website has information for  individuals looking to volunteer and  organizations in need of volunteers .

In Boulder, the COVID-19 Recovery Center (CRC) is seeking volunteers to assist with various duties. A team from the City of Boulder, the City of Longmont, and Boulder County initiated the CRC to house individuals amid COVID-19 concerns. This plan includes housing vulnerable individuals who show symptoms of the virus or have tested positive and are currently experiencing homelessness. The response team works under the direction of the Emergency Operations Center for Boulder County. Please  read the full details on the iniative to find out more and sign up. NOTE: The stay at home order will not impact volunteering. Individuals will receive an Authorization to Work when they volunteer.

Are staff and volunteers at the COVID-19 Recovery Center (CRC) directly exposed and should they isolate?

Boulder County Public Health does not consider those working at the CRC to have had exposure that requires isolation. Staff and volunteers are being trained to properly use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including gloves and masks, which helps prevent exposure. Staff and volunteers are also required to wash their hands frequently. Additionally, sick clients will be following PPE requirements, wearing masks and washing hands frequently. Staff and volunteers are self-monitoring for symptoms daily and will not report to work if they are feeling ill.