On Monday, March 23, the City and County of Denver, the City of Boulder and Pitkin County all released stay-at-home orders their residents. Denver and Boulder use nearly identical language and are both currently in effect until April 10. Pitkin County’s order is in effect until April 17.

Governor Polis has stated that at this time he does not believe it’s appropriate to issue a statewide order. He stated that he respects local control and that communities across the state should take their own actions as appropriate. Additional local action is possible in population centers. This FAQ is based on the Denver/Boulder orders.

Is an architecture firm an essential business?

Generally, no. Architecture is not one of the listed professional services exemptions in the orders. Firms that are directly supporting essential services and public infrastructure may be exempt but should consult with their clients before making any determinations.

Is construction an essential business?

Yes. Construction operations and projects are considered essential infrastructure. The original version of the Denver order only allowed certain types of construction projects to proceed. However, it was amended to allow all construction sites to remain active as long as they implement strict physical distancing protocols.

Can architects still perform contract administration services on-site?

Yes. Individuals may leave their residences to provide services necessary to support essential infrastructure. This doesn’t mean it’s business as usual though. Architecture firms are advised to coordinate any on-site efforts with your clients and general contractors.

Can I still work at my office even if my firm’s not an essential business?

Working in an office in a stay-at-home jurisdiction is not allowed unless it is a “minimum basic operation task.” Employees can still work from home though.

What are basic minimum operations for non-essential businesses?

  1. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions.
  2. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.
  3. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue filling online product orders and to process customer orders remotely.

Individuals who need to travel to or from work for an exempted reason are still required to comply with social distancing requirements defined in these orders and are encouraged to spend as little time as possible outside of home when performing these operations.