The money is available to the state under the major disaster declaration issued in March 2020. 

Under the major disaster declaration issued by the state of Colorado last March, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent the state an additional $250 million to aid in pandemic response efforts. 

Despite the declaration being made last March, the state did not receive the funding until after President Joe Biden approved a cost-share increase for pandemic response-related projects from 75% to 100%. The money is authorized to cover costs for initiatives completed between January 20, 2020, and September 30, 2021. 

The money sent to Colorado went toward the costs incurred from opening and operating seven COVID-19 test sites between August 2020 and March 2021. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) handled the funds. 

Receiving these funds is just as important now as it was at the beginning of the pandemic, especially during vaccine distributions. As of April 30, 2021, more than 2.5 million Coloradans over the age of 16 have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

colorado covid vaccines
Courtesy of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Education (Facebook)

As Colorado's vaccine distribution moves forward and all Colorado residents are now eligible for the vaccine, businesses are beginning to open up and ease restrictions. Two weeks ago, the CDPHE ended the use of its COVID-19 dial, giving counties more power in their limitations if they decide to have any. 

And while there's still a statewide mask mandate, it's much less restrictive. The statewide order only applies to schools, child and healthcare businesses, personal services, and public areas. Thirty counties don't have mask restrictions as of April 16.