Colorado’s governor issues statewide mask mandate days after saying such a requirement is unenforceable |

Colorado’s governor issues statewide mask mandate days after saying such a requirement is unenforceable

The move comes as the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations has been rising in Colorado over the past several weeks

Jesse Paul and John Ingold / Colorado Sun
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks to reporters while wearing a mask in Centennial on Friday, April 3, 2020.
Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun

Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday, facing pressure from the medical community and Democratic state lawmakers, issued a statewide mandate requiring Coloradans to wear a mask when in public, indoor spaces.

The order, a copy of which was obtained by The Sun, says the mandate applies to anyone 10 years or older. Masks must also be worn by people who are waiting outdoors for a taxi, bus, light rail, car service, rideshare or other mass transit or similar transportation service.

Violators may be “subject to civil or criminal penalties, including but not limited to prosecution for trespass,” the order says. 

The mask order takes effect on Friday. Businesses must post signs about the mandate and “must refuse entry or service to people who are not wearing masks,” the governor’s office says.

“No mask, no service. It’s simple, ” Polis said as he announced the order at a news conference at the governor’s mansion.

Polis said data shows that the virus has spread less in areas of the state that have already implemented a mask-wearing mandate. There are 39 Colorado
counties and municipalities that already have mandatory mask orders in place.

He said those numbers played heavily into his decision to issue the statewide order.

People who cannot tolerate a face covering are exempt, as are people who are hearing impaired, seated at a restaurant, are exercising alone or with people from their own household or receiving a personal service. First responders are also exempt, as are those officiating a religious service or who are giving a speech for broadcast to an audience.

The governor’s order comes just days after he called such a requirement unenforceable and said local governments are better positioned to implement and enforce mask-wearing rules. 

“There’s no ability the state has to enforce it,” he said last week.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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