Gov. Jared Polis signed a series of bills during a July 8, 2020, ceremony at Red Rocks Community College in Arvada. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)
With cases of COVID-19 climbing in states that weren’t initially as hard-hit as the northeast U.S., governors from across the political spectrum have issued mask-wearing orders.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, hasn’t crossed the line from strong recommendation to mandate, though he said on July 9 he hasn’t ruled it out.
The problem is that the state has no ability to enforce a statewide order, he said at a news conference.
“I don’t think there’s too many people that are sitting around saying, ‘I’m not going to wear a mask till there’s some piece of paper,'” Polis said. “But you know what? Fines, at the municipal level, if they’re enforced, can be effective.”
Colorado hasn’t seen the same spikes in case counts as nearby states Arizona and Texas. But it recorded more than 2,000 new cases between July 2 and 9, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Governors have issued statewide mask orders in California, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia, Al Jazeera reports.
Other states, including Colorado, have orders in place at local and regional levels, imposed by mayors or county commissioners.
The Tri-County Health Department’s Board of Health, for example, voted July 8 to draft a mask-wearing order for Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
Boulder, Denver and Larimer counties, plus the cities of Westminster, Northglenn, Englewood and Fort Collins, already have local orders. Polis said that amounted to over half of the state, and praised the jurisdictions.
“It can be a hard vote for a city council person or a commissioner,” he said, “but you are doing the right thing for your community.”
Meanwhile, the state announced a new website, coloradocoronavirusmodel.com, where users can input certain variables in order to see state forecasts for case counts, hospitalizations and deaths, developed by researchers at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.
Inputs include levels of mask-wearing, social distancing, and the identification and isolation of positive cases.
“You can see the same science that we see. You can make the informed decisions in your lives to do a little better,” Polis said.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.