Pueblo City Council gets controversial over mask mandates

Masks are required in the chambers during City Council meetings, per an order by Mayor Nick Gradisar
Posted at 7:25 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-18 18:57:57-04

PUEBLO — Monday night's Pueblo City Council meeting grew tense when citizens showed up maskless in the chambers, regardless of Mayor Nick Gradisar's mask mandate in city buildings.

"Let me first welcome our visitors here, we haven't had the chambers this full for quite some time," said Gradisar, addressing the large crowd on September 13, 2021.

The first hour of the evening consisted of a public forum with several of the six speakers focusing on mask and vaccine mandates.

"(It) doesn't make sense to me to have it be a mandate because of the coercive nature and the degradation of public trust," said one woman opposed to mask mandates.

After Mayor Gradisar asked law enforcement to get involved when addressing citizens who refused to wear masks in the chambers.

"We're obviously in the Darwinian phase of our battle against this virus, and I guess if there's any upside to that... It'll start thinning out the herd a little bit," said Gradisar.

Mayor Gradisar later reflected, "Was that the best way to phrase it? Maybe not, but I'm trying to be real with people... This is what's going to happen. You might think it's fake, but it's not fake."

Representative at Large Mark Aliff reminded the group that both vaccine mandates and mask mandates are not decisions made by City Council.

"Even if I agree with their position on masks or vaccinations, there's really very little as a city council member I can do to help alleviate what is bothering them," said Aliff.

The Pueblo Health Department implemented a mask mandate in Pueblo schools and sent News 5 this statement regarding if and when they will reconsider the mandate.