Takeaways from the Downtown Denver Partnership Member Briefing on March 31st

March 31, 2020

On March 31st, the Downtown Denver Partnership gathered our members, community leaders, and business owners in the second weekly COVID-19 Membership Briefing webinar. Key takeaways include:

  • Evan Dreyer, Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Michael B. Hancock, City and County of Denver, confirmed that the City and County of Denver will continue operating from the emergency operation center, bringing all government agencies together under one roof to collaborate. Other key updates include:
    • The City & County are working to maintain essential services and support Denver’s economy and businesses while finalizing additional details to the $4M relief package announced last week.
    • Understanding the financial and economic impacts to the City’s budget is ongoing, and the City will continue to plan for future financial and economic impacts of the pandemic. 
    • The City is working with federal and state governments to meet the need for additional hospital beds. Unconventional solutions are being considered, including opening the Colorado Convention Center, with capacity for nearly 1,000 hospital beds.
    • Denver’s homeless and at-risk populations continue to be a priority, and the City is collaborating with nonprofits and other organizations to open up capacity in day shelters and continuing to provide services to those experiencing homelessness.
    • A recreation center is currently staying open as a day shelter for women that can accommodate up to 250 individuals.
    • Over the past week, 5 citations have been issued with a $999 fine for not respecting the stay at home order.
  • Representatives from the Denver Police Department (DPD), Chief of Police, Paul Pazen, and Commander Aaron Sanchez, District 6, gave details on safety and security updates:
    • Since the ‘Stay at Home’ order was issued, calls for service are much lower than usual.
    • The goals for communicating the ‘Stay at Home’ order to the public have remained the same: advise, educate, and create a visible,uniformed presence .
    • DPD is continuing to use High Visibility Patrols (HVPs), placing officers in areas with a heightened risk for crime to monitor activity.
    • This week DPD also activated Mobile HVPs, similar to HVPs, allowing officers to patrol the immediate area in their vehicle.
    • DPD has adjusted to reporting crimes over phone or computer.
    • Cases of domestic violence are expected to rise, and DPD continues to work with non-profits and other community organizations educating people on how to assess situations and self-manage.
    • DPD is expecting more property crimes in the commercial areas, and recommends that business owners do everything they can to reduce crimes of opportunity and vulnerability.
    • To report oversized gatherings, or other instances of stay-at-home order disobedience, please call the City’s non-emergency line at 720-913-2000.
  • From the Office of U.S. Senator Michael Bennet; Amy Friedman, State Director, and Brian Appel, Legislative Director, gave an overview of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Stimulus Package. This is the 3rd Phase of the funding package, with a focus on our economy and healthcare. For more information on any of the programs below, please visit https://www.bennet.senate.gov/public/ and view the complete presentation here. The CARES Act Stimulus Package includes the following items:

Marshall Plan for Health Systems:

    • This will allocate $100B for Hospitals and Providers, create a Medicare Advance Payment Program, add $45B to the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, and $16B to the Strategic National Stockpile.
    • Through this plan, Federal, State, and Local Public Health Agencies are able to receive $4.3B through the Center for Disease Control.
    • Telehealth funding is currently at $200M.

Economic Development: 

    • Direct Cash Payments will offer one-time payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child to help individuals and families cope with the financial impacts of COVID-19. Details of how and when to claim are being determined. 
    • Unemployment eligibility and benefits have been expanded, now including federal funds, to include contractors and those that are self-employed are eligible to apply.
    • The Economic Development Administration has generated $1.5B to help impacted industries through low-interest loans. 
    • Community Development Block Grants are pulling from $5B in funding to expand and support community facilities, including healthcare and childcare facilities.
    • Hundreds of millions of funds have been dedicated to rural broadband development.
    • Additionally, from the national General State and Local fiscal relief funds of $150B, another $2.2B in funding is expected to flow to Colorado.
    • Agencies are finalizing guidelines on how businesses and nonprofits can apply for grants. Interested parties are encouraged to prepare payroll records in advance.

Education and Childcare:

    • Each state is receiving $3B to distribute to public schools in addition to multi-billion dollar allocations for Pre-K-12, Higher Education, Childcare Development, and Headstart.
    • Community Services Block Grants are also available to these institutions.


    • $36B in funding has been allocated for airports, public transit, and Amtrak.

Additional updates

    • The Housing and Homelessness Assistance program has $7B in funds.
    • There is $400M in funding for election assistance, which will help states prepare for the upcoming election season. 
  • Finally in a Health Update, Dr. Mark Learned with Kaiser Permanente answered questions about testing and projected peak dates for the droplet-transmitted disease. Key takeaways are below and you can view his presentation here.
    • Denver is predicted to peak on or around April 17th. After the peak, communities need to practice social distancing for another three weeks for safe measure.
    • If you need medical treatment, try using telemedicine, an app, emails, or video meetings to protect yourself and healthcare professionals.

The Partnership will continue to host weekly COVID-19 Membership briefings. Click here to join us for next week’s webinar on April 7th at 3:00 PM.