COLORADO SPRINGS — With the statewide mask mandate now in effect, many Coloradans are asking how the mandate will apply to their daily lives. News5 is breaking down the executive order and explaining the situations where you will need to wear a mask or face covering.
What is the executive order?
Gov. Jared Polis announced the executive order Thursday, July 16, that will require those 11 years or older to wear masks or face coverings in any public indoor space. The mandate was issued in an effort to combat the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in Colorado.
Who needs to wear a mask and who doesn't?
The executive order states Coloradans 11 years and older will have to wear a mask or face covering when entering or moving any public indoor space. This also applies to those utilizing public and non-personal transportation services.
Individuals who have "a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask" will not be required to wear a face covering. Those who cannot wear a mask medically, are hearing impaired or disabled where an essential part of communication is to see the mouth are exempt from this order.
More exemptions outlined in the order are individuals exercising alone or with members of their household and a face covering would interfere, those seated at a food service establishment and those receiving a personal service that requires the temporary removal of the face covering.
What is considered a public indoor space?
The mask executive order states a public indoor space is a publicly or privately owned, managed or operated, enclosed indoor area that is accessible to the public. A person's residence does not fall under this definition, including a hotel/motel room. These are public indoor spaces included in the order, but are not limited to:
- Government buildings
- Houses of worship
- Private country clubs or social clubs
- Grocery stores
- Hair salons
- All offices, lobbies, elevators
- Malls, retail stores
- Indoor businesses, common areas
- Medical facilities, nursing homes
- Restaurants (if not seated)
- Gyms, including areas around indoor pools but not while swimming in the pool
- If a business or entity provides services or goods both indoors and outdoors at a single location, a mask must be worn in the indoor portion of that business or entity
- All enclosed indoor areas, whether publicly or privately owned or managed, except an individual’s residence
Is the mask order a law?
According to the state's website, the executive order is a law because executive orders and public health orders "have the force of law. People who do not comply with the executive order may be subject to civil or criminal penalties."
News5 reached out to several law enforcement agencies regarding enforcement. While some agencies are still figuring out how to enforce it, others have already taken a stance. Read more by clicking here.
Why is there a statewide mandatory mask order now?
The state's website says the statewide order will help "eliminate confusion and makes mask requirements more consistent across the state." There were several counties across Colorado that had mandatory mask mandates prior to this statewide order. This order will also require businesses to refuse service to those not wearing masks and "ensure businesses can remain open with precautions during the pandemic."
Counties that will NOT enforce the mask mandated order are as follows:
El Paso County deputies are not actively enforcing the order, but will respond to related calls of patrons not following the mask mandate.
Pueblo County has openly encouraged the mask mandate, as they shared a post on Facebook asking, "Please mask up."
Why is 10 years old the cutoff for mask requirement?
Those who are 10 years old and younger are less likely to spread COVID-19, according to the state. Younger children will also be very likely to not wear masks properly.
Do I have to wear a mask outdoors?
The executive order does not state that you have to wear a mask outdoors, but if you are waiting for public or non-personal transportation then you will have to.
The state recommends wearing a mask if you are unable to keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and other people.
What will happen if I refuse to wear a mask?
Because the executive order is a state law, you can face civil or criminal penalties. The state website explains if you try to enter a business without a mask, you could be prosecuted for trespassing. A licensed business could also lose its license if they do not comply with the order.
If you have any more questions, you can visit the state's website by clicking here.