Polis step up

Gov. Jared Polis during an Oct. 20 news conference, sporting the latest campaign mask for "Step Up Colorado."

Lost in the midst of Wednesday's chaos, both at the state Capitol in Denver and in Washington, D.C.: an extension of the Colorado's requirement for wearing face coverings.

Gov. Jared Polis extended, for a ninth time, an executive order mandating Coloradans wear masks in public places. 

The original order was issued April 17, 2020, and directed essential workers and those in government functions to wear masks. The mandate became statewide to all Coloradans over the age of 10 and for all indoor, public places on July 16, 2020.

As of Jan. 7, 38 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. have mask mandates. The dozen that do not mandate masks statewide either strongly recommend it or have partial mandates in place. In those states, many local governments do have those requirements for their residents.

The current order in Colorado is for 30 days, the maximum amount of time an executive order tied to public health can be in place, and will expire on February 5 unless extended again by the governor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a November briefing on scientific studies around mask wearing, said "experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread" of COVID-19, so long as those masks are worn correctly. 

Republican lawmakers who will convene next week for the opening of the 73rd General Assembly have said they want to limit the governor's authority on executive orders, and intend to introduce legislation on that issue when the General Assembly comes back from its recess, scheduled for Feb. 16.

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