On March 23, 2020, Mayor Michael Hancock issued a widely sweeping stay-at-home order for Denver County in order to fight the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. The order deemed many businesses as non-essential, forcing them to cease operations until at least April 11, 2020, while allowing grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores, dispensaries and drive-thru fast-food restaurants to stay open if they comply with strict social distancing policies.
While the policy is necessary to help flatten the curve, this halt of the economy is incredibly dangerous to working families; considering we live in a nation where 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. As March draws to an end, many workers are fearing that their rent payment will leave them completely broke.
Due to this looming threat, many Coloradans are beginning to call for a rent strike. Recently a group of friends created a Facebook group called “COVID-19 #RentStrike Home Protest During Quarantine” that calls for renters to stand together in solidarity and refuse to pay rent. They are asking for participants to hang a white flag on their front window on April 1, 2020, to show support or participation in the event.
One of the group’s founders, Cassidy Robertson states “If rent is not frozen, we will quickly cycle our stimulus packages back into the big banks, and nowhere else in the economy will there be any cogs turning. It’s ultimately pointless to demand payment when we have families to feed and health to maintain, which should be the priority right now with this stimulus.”
The Denver chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America will also be holding a virtual press conference on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 6pm to demand a rent freeze during this time of crisis. The press conference will feature speeches by Denver councilwoman, Candi CdeBaca, Aurora councilman, Juan Marcano and a variety of laid-off medical workers. The teleconference will be held via Zoom and can be accessed here once the event starts.