UPDATE #2: From the City and County of Denver:
The Order has been updated with the following changes::
· Liquor stores with extreme physical distancing in place will be exempt.
· All marijuana stores with extreme physical distancing in place will be exempt.
· All construction operations and projects will be exempt.
— City and County of Denver (@CityofDenver) March 23, 2020
UPDATE: STOP PANIC BUYING — CHANGES ARE COMING!!!
We’re hearing from sources in the City of Denver that this order is being revised and restrictions on liquor stores and dispensaries are being adjusted. From what we understand, the logic here was to start restrictions broadly and then make adjustments as necessary, which follows guidance that has been presented by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States.
An unexpected development this afternoon in the City and County of Denver this afternoon, as Mayor Michael Hancock imposes a citywide “shelter in place” order shutting down businesses deemed nonessential–and controversially including liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries in the order, when those businesses have been permitted to remain operating in other jurisdictions–as the Denver Post reports:
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday ordered residents to stay in their homes and announced that non-essential businesses such as liquor stores and recreational marijuana dispensaries would close across the city starting Tuesday…He told Denverites to stock up tonight on alcohol (and recreational marijuana) if they need to.
At Argonaut Wine & Liquor, 760 E. Colfax Ave., the mayor’s order created an instant rush Monday afternoon. Within 15 minutes of the press conference, a line about a block long formed outside the building, according to co-owner Josh Robinson. In order to adhere to public health guidelines around social distancing and keep people spaced out inside, staff acted like bouncers, allowing one shopper in for each person that left.
“It’s created a safety issue in the short term,” Robinson said. “The mayor said not to panic buy, but that is exactly what he encouraged people to do by shutting us down.” [Pols emphasis]
We’re hearing reports already of long lines forming outside Denver liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries. For public health officials trying to get the public to isolate and spatially distance themselves, this could be considered counterproductive.
This story will be updated.