FORT MORGAN, Colo. — Gov. Jared Polis gave a wide-ranging update on Colorado's response to COVID-19 on Friday, including saying that he'll likely extend the statewide mask mandate for another 30 days.
"The masks are working," he said. "We’re all frustrated with masks. I can’t wait for [the] mask requirement to be over and the fire ban to be over."
He said the mask mandate is part of the state's progress in reducing the spread of COVID-19 "and it’ll be with us for another 30 days."
Polis hasn't issued an executive order yet extending the mandate, which is set to expire Sunday, Sept. 13. He put the mandate in place at midnight on July 17. On Aug. 12, he extended it for another 30 days.
Polis also addressed the issue of high school sports, as the commissioner of the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) met Friday with the governor's office about potential variances for sports, according to a press release from CHSAA.
Polis said his office was doing everything it could to facilitate high school sports and that every sport will have a season; though, he said he didn't want to interfere with individual districts' decisions on when to schedule specific sports.
"CHSAA activities are an important part of the high school experience for many students," he said. "Kids are only in high school for four years. For many, if they are varsity athletes, that might be a one- or two-year window."
Watch the full news conference in the video below:
The governor dedicated much of the briefing to his administration's efforts to bring economic relief to businesses and entrepreneurs that have suffered in the pandemic. He spent the day visiting several Eastern Colorado towns to highlight recovery efforts for small businesses and the agricultural sector.
"You don't have to be in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs or Fort Collins to launch your ideas," he said. "We want entrepreneurs to strengthen the economy of Eastern Colorado."
Joining him at the briefing were Betsy Markey, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade; and Rick Garcia, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs.
Markey and Garcia both spoke about grant programs to boost businesses across the state. Polis said that the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, administered by the state and Mile High United Way, has raised $24 million to help communities and organizations that were hard-hit by the pandemic.
Polis visited several Eastern Colorado businesses on Friday that have been recipients of those programs:
- The Annex in Sterling, a co-working facility for local entrepreneurs in Logan County
- The Rural Communities Resource Center in Yuma, which provides advocacy, education and support for economic health
- The Early Childhood Council for Yuma, Washington and Kit Carson counties
- The new agriculture building at Morgan Community College.
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