Gov. Polis orders statewide mask mandate for Colorado
DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday he is issuing an executive order requiring face coverings in indoor public areas to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Polis, a Democrat, had long resisted issuing a statewide mask mandate, but he has 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.
“The virus has spread less in areas that have had mask wearing orders by a statistically significant amount, and that is an incredibly important data point for me in making this statewide,” Polis said. “We have a choice in Colorado: Either more mask wearing and more attention to social distancing, or more damage to our economy and loss of life.”
The order, which takes effect midnight Thursday, applies to people olde r than 10 and allows for several exemptions, including when eating at a restaurant and exercising alone.
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.”
He was joined Thursday by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, who supported the statewide order.
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.
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