Gov. Polis orders statewide mask mandate |

Gov. Polis orders statewide mask mandate

Thomas Peipert
Associated Press
Colorado Governor Jared Polis puts on his face mask to make a point during a news conference to update reporters on the state's efforts to stem the rise of the new coronavirus Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday he is issuing an executive order requiring face coverings in indoor public areas across the state to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Polis, a Democrat, had long resisted issuing a statewide mask mandate. But he’s come under increasing pressure as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations mount in Colorado.

Several local governments have caused confusion by opting out of mask orders issued by individual county health departments. Polis’ order will override those local decisions.

In Garfield County, only the municipalities of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale have required masks in places of business, public buildings and crowded places outdoors where people cannot maintain safe social distancing. The new statewide order will now apply across the board to include New Castle, Silt, Rifle, Parachute and unincorporated areas of the county.

Neighboring Eagle and Pitkin counties already require face coverings.

The governor has recently become more vocal about the importance of wearing a mask, saying at a news conference last week, “Wear a damn mask.” In a Facebook post Sunday, he called people who refuse to wear masks “selfish bastards.”

More than 38,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Colorado, and more than 1,700 people have died with the disease, according to state health officials.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Post Independent reporter John Stroud contributed the local information to this report.

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