Statewide Colorado mask mandate goes into effect Friday, July 17

RBC | Governor Jared Polis is issuing an executive order, effective Friday, July 17, requiring all Coloradans ages 10 and up to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

Violators may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.

Businesses must post signs and refuse entry to people who are not wearing masks, according to the governor’s office.

Some exemptions are listed in the order, which can be found in full at https://covid19.colorado.gov/mask-guidance.

Listed exemptions include:

  • People who are 10 years old and younger.
  • People who cannot medically tolerate a face covering. (Essentially, this means a person who has trouble breathing or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more from the CDC about other reasons face coverings may not be possible in every situation or for some people.)
  • Children ages 2 and under should NOT wear masks or cloth face coverings.

Seventeen counties and a smattering of Colorado cities have mask mandates in place already. Rio Blanco County did not issue a mask mandate prior to the executive order.

The 14 day trend for new COVID-19 cases has grown from 260.3 to 431.7, according to data compiled by the Colorado Sun. Hospitalizations are also on the rise.

In Rio Blanco County, the sixth case of coronavirus was reported earlier this week.

The hope, according the governor, is that widespread mask usage will allow Colorado to continue with its phased reopening plan instead of locking back down.

The CDC now recommends use of cloth face masks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The governor also announced a two week pause on approving any new county variances to the current Safer at Home policy, and stated any county with a new spike in cases “must take bold and urgent mitigation steps” or risk losing their variance.

This is a developing story. Last update: 3:23 p.m. Thursday, July 16.

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