Governor Polis has signed an amended executive order strengthening the ability of business owners to deny entry or service to those not wearing facemasks. The order, which was announced Thursday afternoon, will provide discretion to employers and operators of places of public accommodation, and those authorized on their behalf, to deny admittance or service and require the removal of any individual who fails to wear a medical or non-medical face covering.
The wording of the order begins: “I, Jared Polis, Governor of the State of Colorado, hereby issue this Executive Order amending Executive Orders D 2020 039 and D 2020 067 to provide discretion to employers and operators of places of public accommodation, and those authorized on their behalf, to deny admittance or service and require the removal of any individual who fails to wear a medical or non-medical face covering.”
The full order is available here
As the coronavirus pandemic known as CVID-19 has progressed, there have been cases across several Colorado counties, where local police departments, county, and city leaders have refused to enforce the public health facemask orders. This includes here in Chaffee, where prior to yesterday’s announcement by the governor, the Salida Police Department had announced that it will not enforce the facemasks order.
The reasons that local authorities have sidestepped strong support for facemasks vary. They say they don’t have enforcement authority, they don’t have the manpower to enforce, they wish the avoidance of conflict, or they insist that wearing a mask is a personal decision and the government shouldn’t get involved.
Colorado Public Health Officials say that with no vaccine and a possible surge in cases as the state reopens to visitors, that the population has only a few protections available: social distancing, wearing facemasks whenever out in public, and disinfecting and washing hands.
Chaffee County Director of Public Health Andrea Carlstrom continues to point out that the pandemic is not over and that in addition to a fall wave of COVID-19, with visitors arriving in the county, we may see a summer spike as well. While the disease can be deadly, a significant number of COVID carriers are asymptomatic, so there is no way of knowing who could be carrying it in a group of people. The wearing of face masks, says Carlstrom is a proactive step that protects others around you.
The governor’s initial executive order required facemasks be worn in public places, and established fines for non-compliance.