The debate of mask wearing in Colorado continues, with some counties strictly enforcing statewide mandates while others seemingly ignore them altogether. In the latest mask news, a large portion of Front Range Coloradans will now be mandated to wear masks in public outdoor spaces when with non-household members and unable to social distance.
While the statewide mask mandate only applies to indoor spaces, a new order issued by the Tri-County Health Department and Jefferson County Public Health calls for people to wear masks while in a wider range of public scenarios where social distancing isn't possible, expanding the order to include the outdoors. It's also worth noting that this order expires a full 90 days after it was issued (July 24) – much longer than the statewide mandate's 30-day period that started on July 17. This effectively extends the rules of the statewide mandate, which still apply, for the duration of the full 90-day period.
The outdoor mask order is technically active in Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson counties, an area that includes places like Aurora, Arvada, Littleton, Golden, Lakewood, and Centennial. More than 1,000,000 Coloradans will be impacted by the order.
Some places within the impacted region are already opting out of the order, including Douglas County, Castle Pines, Deer Trail, Brighton, Castle Rock, Bennett, Arapahoe County (east of Watkins Road to county line), Parker, Glendale, and Columbine Valley. These areas are still subject to the statewide mask mandate.
Read the full update on this change here.
According to John Douglas, Jr., MD and Executive Director of the Tri-County Health Department, “Wearing a face covering is one of the most important prevention measures we can take to control the spread of COVID-19. Together we can limit the spread of the virus and keep vulnerable members of our communities healthy as well as help to keep our economy open and give our schools a chance to re-open as fully as possible.”
According to 9NEWS, police plan to take an "educational approach" over looking to charge with a crime for violating the order.
The mandate to wear masks has seen pushback in a number of ways around Colorado. In one recent incident, a concert and rodeo took place in Weld County with thousands of people and no mask wearing or social distancing requirement enforced.
The debate over mask usage will likely continue for weeks to come.