02 Apr COVID-19 FAQs: Veterinary care as “essential business”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued Public Health Order 20-24 on March 22 defining essential businesses. The order was amended after Governor Polis’s executive “stay at home” order on March 25 to direct all Colorado residents except for those engaged in essential businesses to stay at home. Read the full public health order.
- Are veterinary practices permitted to stay open under this order?
- Yes. This order defines veterinary practices and livestock services as “essential businesses.”
- Do I have to keep my practice open if I feel unsafe or have concerns about COVID-19 and its impact on the health of my practice, staff, or community?
- No. You are not required to keep your practice open. Please use your professional judgement in determining what is right for your staff, practice, and community.
- What other services are allowed to stay open?
- Necessary activities or services deemed “essential” include animal shelters, animal boarding services, animal rescues, zoological facilities, animal sanctuaries, and other pet-related service facilities including retail stores that sell pet food and supplies. Read more from PACFA.
- What animal-related services are not allowed to stay open?
- Businesses that are not defined as essential businesses include groomers and grooming facilities, retail facilities that do not sell pet food and supplies, pet transporters that import dogs and cats from other states, and any other license types. Read more from PACFA.
- I’m an employee of an essential business. What documentation do I need to prove that I am permitted to be commuting to work?
- Most Colorado law enforcement have indicated they will not be stopping motorists to check and see if they are complying with the stay at home order. However, some businesses are giving their employees templates they can use to carry with them to define themselves as employees of an essential business. Click here to download a template from the AVMA that you can use for your veterinary practice. Please note that this is only a template and that it should be customized for your practice and needs.
Sample essential employee authorization letter from the AVMA