The Rocky Mountain Region COVID-19 Employment Update provides information about COVID-19 orders in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. This update includes information current to April 28, 2020.

General Advisements

- In many situations, federal, state, and local cities or counties may have orders or regulations covering the same legal areas. Generally, the federal, state and local orders all apply in such a situation, so follow the most restrictive law. This is especially important for the stay-at-home or shelter-in-place Orders. If your city or county has issued a stay-at-home Order, but your State has not, you must comply with the city or county order. There may be some instances in which federal law could preempt State law, and we recommend you seek specific counsel in those situations.

- Companies should consider the potential for claims against Directors & Officers, Errors & Omissions, Management Liability, or any form of Professional Liability Insurance policies, including Healthcare Professional Liability policies. Claims could be made against managers, directors, officers, or professionals for a failure to make decisions that would have prevented the spread of disease. Potentially more costly could be claims by investors, who have seen the value of their holdings dwindle, seeking to assert claims against officers alleging that a lack of response (or inadequate response) led to a reduction in share price. Policyholders will argue that pollution exclusions have limited effect against such claims.

- Even if no shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders have been issued for your location, companies should be wary of requiring employees to work in dangerous work environments that could be created if guidelines are not followed or in place. While there is no specific OSHA standard governing COVID-19, the General Duty Clause, requiring employers to provide “a place of employment, which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm,” still applies. We recommend all companies follow the OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and the CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations.

- On the federal level, the Families First Corona Virus Response Act requires that companies with fewer than 500 employees give full-time employees 80 hours of paid sick leave and also provide part-time employees with some paid leave. The Act generally applies to anyone who has coronavirus, is in quarantine or caring for someone in quarantine, or is caring for a child under 18 whose school is closed as a result of the outbreak. There are caps on the payouts: $511 per day for employees with the virus or in quarantines and $200 per day for employees caring for someone in quarantine or a child. Employers are eligible to be reimbursed for with a tax credit to leave paid out to employees under the law.

- On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act – the Federal government’s third aid package intended to keep businesses and individuals afloat during this unprecedented freeze on American life – into law. For more details see the complete advisory here.

State-by-State Analysis

Note: The exemptions to the limits on gatherings and essential work places vary on both a state and local level. To determine if your business is considered an essential/critical business and the requirements such essential businesses must comply with (e.g., social distancing, shift staggering), please continue to read on below.


Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in Colorado on March 10, 2020 and issued Executive Order D 2020 003 on March 11, 2020 reflecting this emergency declaration.

Paid Leave

State Suspension of Other Regulatory Activities

State Limits on Gatherings and Work Places

City and County Limits on Gatherings and Work Places


Employees in specified industries (leisure and hospitality, real estate, offices and office work, elective medical, health, and dental services, personal care services, education, food services, food and beverage manufacturing, retail, child care, home health, nursing homes, and community living facilities) covered by the HELP rules are required to be given 4 days paid sick leave for testing of coronavirus or for instructions to quarantine or self-isolate due to risk of coronavirus. This is not on top of or in addition to any sick leave provided by an employer. If an employee already has 4 paid sick days provided by an employer, he or she will not get 4 extra.

- Suspends the tax deadline and directs the Colorado Department of Revenue to extend the income tax deadline and estimated tax payments to July 15, 2020

- Suspends certain regulations for businesses in the alcohol and marijuana industries to allow businesses to adapt to the restrictions of social distancing, including allowing businesses to deliver alcohol and suspending physical exams for medical marijuana cards

- Closes bars and restaurants for on-premises dining; takeout and delivery services allowed

- Allocates $1 million to improve and expedite the process of unemployment applications

- Suspends enforcement of certain statutes pertaining to taxable property requirements for taxpayers

- All critical business workers ordered to wear non-medical face coverings

- All critical business workers recommended to wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods

- No gatherings of more than 10 people

5. Pregnant women

- All individuals who are sick or who test positive for COVID-19 directed to stay at home except as necessary to care for themselves or seek medical care

- Employers directed to accommodate by promoting telecommuting, remote work capabilities, or flexible work schedules specifically for workers with childcare responsibilities, Vulnerable Individuals, or those who live with Vulnerable Individuals

- Employer discrimination prohibited against those with symptoms or who test positive for COVID-19 and must provide accommodations

- Non-critical businesses may have up to 50% in-person workforce with social distancing requirements beginning May 4

- Includes requirements to maintain social distancing on construction sites and limits crew size

- Extends Colorado Executive Order 20-24 and Public Health Orders 20-24 and 20-22 for Adams and Arapahoe Counties

- Allows for a review of “those aggrieved or affected by this Order” by filing an action within 90 days


Governor Little declared state of emergency on March 13, 2020.

Paid Leave

State Suspension of Other Regulatory Activities

State Limits on Gatherings and Work Places

City and County Limits on Gatherings and Work Places


No additional guidance

• Idaho Department of Labor has clarified if coronavirus causes an employer to temporarily or permanently shut down operations, unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employer must shut down operations and no work is available, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits

• If an employ receives unemployment benefits as a result of a coronavirus-related business shutdown, this could impact the employer’s unemployment taxes as there are currently no provisions to waive charge requirements as a result of the coronavirus at this time

Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare, Order of the Director – March 25, 2020, Amended on April 15, 2020

The stay at home order has been extended until April 30, 2020

• Directs all individuals living in the state of Idaho to self-isolate at their place of residence

- Except that they may leave to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential business and government services

- Exempts individuals experiencing homelessness from the self-isolation order but urging them to find shelter and government agencies to provide it

- Directs all businesses and governmental agencies to cease nonessential operations at physical locations in the State of Idaho

- Supplements Idaho Self-Isolation Order for golf courses, supermarkets, parks and open spaces, airports, and social distancing requirements

Idaho has no mini-WARN Act


On March 12, 2020, Montana Governor Steve Bullock declared an emergency in the State of Montana with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic in Executive Order 2-2020 and extended the state of emergency on March 14, 2020 in Executive Order 3-2020.

Paid Leave

State Suspension of Other Regulatory Activities

State Limits on Gatherings and Work Places

City and County Limits on Gatherings and Work Places


(1) A claimant directed by the employer to leave work or not report for work due to the employer's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including COVID-19

induced reduction in demand or availability of materials, is deemed to have been temporarily laid off by the employer

(2) A claimant subject to a COVID-19 quarantine is deemed to be laid off by the employer during the period of the quarantine

(3) A claimant who is a caregiver of a family member who is the subject of a COVID-19 quarantine is deemed, in order to further the public health, safety, and

(4) When a claimant has experienced a temporary layoff due to the COVID19 pandemic, pursuant to (1), (2), or (3), the claimant is deemed to be able, available, and seeking suitable work when:

(a) the employer intends to recall the claimant to work at the end of the temporary layoff; and

(b) the claimant intends to return to work when recalled by the employer and takes reasonable measures to maintain contact with the employer

(5) A claimant laid off as the result of being subject to a COVID-19 quarantine is ineligible for benefits if the claimant refuses work that can be performed while complying with the terms of the quarantine

• People arriving in Montana for non-work-related purpose must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days

• The quarantine restrictions do not apply persons traveling through Montana en route to another destination; or to public health, public safety, or healthcare workers

Montana has no mini-WARN Act


On March 13, 2020, Governor Pete Ricketts issued an executive order (20-01) declaring a state of emergency and emergency relief for state and federal length and weight hauling requirements through May 1, 2020.

Paid Leave

State Suspension of Other Regulatory Activities

State Limits on Gatherings and Work Places

City and County Limits on Gatherings and Work Places


• waives employer-related contribution requirements to unemployment benefits for claims related to COVID-19 through May 2, 2020.

• The deadline to file state income taxes has been extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020

• No motor carrier shall require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle.

• A driver who notifies a motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given a least ten (10) consecutive hour's off-duty before the driver is required to return to service.

• Carries not directly supporting pandemic response efforts in the state, or that have an Out-Of-Service Order in effect, may not take advantage of the relief from regulation that such a declaration provides under 49 CFR 390.23

- Closes salons, barber shops, movie theaters, gentleman’s clubs, indoor theaters, and tattoo parlors

New Mexico

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a State of Emergency on March 11, 2020, and extended the state of emergency through April 30, 2020 in Executive Order 2020-022.

Paid Leave

State Suspension of Other Regulatory Activities

State Limits on Gatherings and Work Places

City and County Limits on Gatherings and Work Places


No additional guidance

• are required to self-quarantine as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 or have an immediate family member who is quarantined due to COVID-19; or

• Voluntary resignation from employment due to lack of child care is a disqualifying event for receipt of unemployment benefits, even where the lack of childcare is due to the impact of COVID-19

• Benefits are available to employees regardless of full-time or part-time status if the event the employee’s hours are reduced due to lack of business related to COVID-19 as long as the employee’s earnings are under the weekly benefit amount

• waived the work search requirement for four weeks (employers will be automatically charged for four weeks of unemployment benefit payment upon approval of a claimant’s request for benefits)

•Renews the statewide public health emergency proclaimed on March 11, 2020 and extends the public health emergency through April 30,2020

• Permits the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to allow Canadian nursing professionals who are licensed and in good standing to work in any New Mexico healthcare facility during the Pendency of the COVID-19 pandemic

•Canadian nursing professionals who receive written authorization from NMDOH shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for practicing without a license during the period of authorization

• Authorizes emergency funds for the Aging and Long-term Services Department to assist in relief efforts during the state wide public health emergency due to COVID-19

• Authorizes additional emergency funds for the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to assist in and coordinate relief efforts during the statewide public health emergency due to COVID-19

• Directs the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to create a streamlined process for Emergency Expedited Special Permits (EESP) that would allow overweight vehicles and loads that can be easily dismantled or divided to travel in New Mexico between March 31, 2020 and July 1, 2020

• In Order to be eligible for an EESP an applicant must: (1) provide NMDOT with information regarding weight, manifest, destination and route; and (2) deliver primarily relief supplies

• Relief supplies include food, beverages, medicine, medical supplies, clothing, building materials for temporary structures or shelters, and any other materials NMDOT determines are primarily for disaster relief

• Directs Secretary of the Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) to instruct the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to waive collection of all late fees and other penalities triggered by failure of an applicant to timely submit an application or other required documentation for registration, license, permit, or other privilege under the Motor Vehicle Code

• Applies to those applicants who could have submitted their documentation without penalty as of March 11, 2020 until a reasonable period of time after the reopening of MVD offices

• Directs the Department of Public Safety not to issue citations for expired registrations, licenses, permits or other privileges under the Motor Vehicle Code

- Directs the Notary Compliance and Enforcement Unit (NCEU) to not recommend any form of discipline for any notary who performs a notarial act through audio-video technology provided that the following conditions are met:

(1) the technology used provides for direct interaction between the person seeking the notary’s services, the notary, and any required witnesses, and each party must affirmatively state that he or she is located in New Mexico during the video conference;

(2) If the person seeking the notary’s services or any witnesses are not personally know to the notary, each person who is not personally known must present satisfactory evidence of identity (valid state-issued photo identification) during the video conference; and

(3) Person seeking the notary’s services must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to any required witnesses and then to the notary on the same day it was signed; and

(4) Once the notary has received a legible copy of the document with all necessary signatures, the notary may notarize the document and transmit notorized document back to the person seeking the notary’s services

•The requirements above apply only to all notarial acts performed between March 30, 2020 and June 20, 2020

•Authorizes additional emergency funds for the Department of Health to purchase personal protective equipment, testing supplies, and other necessary materials to address the COVID-19 Epidemic

• Does not apply to emergency medical care, surgery that if not performed would result in a serious condition of worsening, and family planning services

• Restricts health care providers and medical suppliers with an inventory of PPE from reducing its inventory via selling, distributing, etc. without prior approval from NWHD

- A “mass gathering” is defined as 5 or more people within 6 feet of one another who are not public employees or officials or who are not at their place of residence

• Expands the definition of logistics to include deliveries to essential businesses and the government but adds that such businesses cannot provide curbside pickup services to the general public for online or telephonic orders

• Hotels, motels, and other places of lodging shall operate at 25% capacity. Health care workers, individuals using places of lodging for a temporary or extended stay, or individuals using places of lodging for purposes of a quarantine isolation period do not count towards the 25% occupancy limit

• Safe storage facilities are directed to reduce operations to the minimum number of employees, including a 100% reduction in permanent on-site workforce whenever possible

• This order does not apply to animal welfare entities such as shelters and zoos but those operations must be performed with the minimum number of employees and with strict adherence to social distancing protocols

No mini-WARN Act


On March 6, 2020, Governor Gary R. Herbert issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to the infectious disease COVID-19 novel coronavirus. By joint resolution (H.J.R. 24), the Utah legislature extended the state of emergency to June 30, 2020.

Paid Leave

State Suspension of Other Regulatory Activities

State Limits on Gatherings and Work Places

City and County Limits on Gatherings and Work Places


No additional guidance

• Employees who handle cash or credit cards must use cleansing measures between transactions, including using best practices issued by the Department. These employees cannot participate in food preparation, handling and delivery

• Stay home except to engage in essential activities or to work in essential business, infrastructure, and/or governmental services

• Permitted activity: health and safety, supplies and services, outdoor activity, certain types of work, provide care for others, essential travel


Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon declared a state of emergency on March 13, 2020. Counties may seek variances of State orders. State COVID-19 Website.

Paid Leave

State Suspension of Other Regulatory Activities

State Limits on Gatherings and Work Places

City and County Limits on Gatherings and Work Places


Reopening of nail salons, hair salons, barber shops, massage therapy services, tattoo/body art/piercing shops, cosmetology services, esthetic services, and electrology services allowed beginning May 1, 2020 with conditions

• Gatherings of 10 or more people prohibited, except: hotels/motels, livestock auctions, workers being transported to job location, government business (including jails and law enforcement), food pantries and shelter facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores, truck stops gas stations, auto-repair facilities, healthcare facilities, alcohol and drug treatment facilities, long term care and assisted living facilities, and retail establishments where more than 10 people can remain 6 feet apart.

Wyoming has no layoff notice requirements of its own. The state does assist in enforcing federal requirements.