Health Department approves new mask requirements


The Tri-County Health Department voted Wednesday to mandate face masks in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties with locations having an “opt out” option for any municipality.

Board members voted 5 to 4 for the face covering option after Health Department Executive Director John Douglas presented data showing COVID19 cases are on the rise in all three counties; especially in Aurora and Adams county. Arapahoe and Douglas counties’ cases are also rising, but at lower rates.

Health Board Member Julie Mullica who made the motion for the mandate said, “I’m in favor of a public mandate with possible opt out option for some locations.”

The order will expire 90 days after it’s implemented unless extended by the executive director.

Before the vote, the executive director presented data showing states that mandate face masks are slowing the rise in cases without hurting the economy.

Face coverings will be required in public places and businesses where 6 feet of distance is not possible, according to the new mandate.  

The health department met online and removed several people from the call after comments calling the health department “communist” and “unelected tyrants.” The community chat associated with the meeting contained both comments for and against mandated face coverings.

Besides citing data, Tri-County Health said it received a letter from several mayors, including Aurora’s mayor Mike Coffman supporting required face coverings in public.

Several cities and counties in Colorado mandate masks including Aspen, Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs plus Denver, Boulder and Summit Counties.

Douglas also said rising rates could impact school re-openings.  Douglas said, “Plans going on right now may be impacted.”

Tonight at 6 p.m., Golden’s City Council will gather for an emergency meeting to discuss expanding its mask requirements. Under its existing mask policy, masks are required on all city property — including parks, trails and city facilities — when six feet of distance can’t be maintained. Under the new ordinance, face coverings would be required in certain businesses, public transportation and certain outdoor public places. City Council will vote on the ordinance Wednesday and conduct a second vote on the ordinance during a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday.

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