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Glendale pushes decision on opting out of Tri-County Health's mask mandate

While Glendale is part of Arapahoe County, it is surrounded completely by Denver, which is under a mask order.

DENVER — The Glendale City Council in a special meeting Tuesday night agreed to take time to draft legislation before deciding if the city should opt-out of the Tri-County Health Department's (TCHD) mask mandate.

An agenda posted to the city website shows Mayor Michael Dunafon called for the meeting on Friday, two days after the TCHD board voted to implement the mandate for the counties it manages: Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas.

City Council agreed to meet again on July 21 after councilmembers can "do research," meet with constituents and draft an ordinance. 

The city took issue with TCHD's mandate because it groups people into "households" instead of simply limiting a group's size in restaurants, businesses and outdoor recreation. This means, under TCHD's mandate, people must wear a mask and maintain 6 feet of social distancing while at restaurants, businesses and outdoors unless they reside in the same home.

RELATED: Tri-County’s mask mandate will go into effect on July 24

Glendale's Deputy City Manager Chuck Line said the household grouping puts businesses in a tough spot because they would have to ask if everyone in a group lives together. It would also make businesses liable for non-compliance and they could lose their licenses. 

Line said 58% of households in Glendale are people who live alone, meaning those people would have to sit by themselves when dining at restaurants and recreating according to TCHD's mandate. In Denver, Line used as an example, groups are not required to be from the same household, rather the group is capped at eight people. 

Line told city council they needed to decide now because after the mandate goes into effect on July 24, they won't be able to opt-out. He said they are encouraging TCHD to amend its order, calling it a "drafting error" in holding people to households rather than group size. 

RELATED: From Douglas County to the Capitol, anger over mask orders in Colorado boils over

Councilmembers said Glendale has had 32 positive cases of COVID-19, adding the city has a young population. 

Line emphasized the city's desire to ensure safety, Glendale would still comply with the state's orders and is willing to comply with TCHD's mandate if it is amended to address household grouping. 

About 20 people signed up for public comment. 

Currently, businesses in Glendale can mandate masks within their establishments. 

While Glendale is a municipality that is considered to be part of Arapahoe County, it is an enclave surrounded completely by Denver. Denver has been under a mask order since May.

TCHD's mandate included the option for any of the three counties or a municipality to opt-out. Douglas County's board of commissioners has already announced its intent to not only opt-out from the order, but to also withdraw from TCHD.

Arapahoe County has not expressed an intent to withdraw from the mask order.

Several local governments throughout Colorado have implemented their own mask orders, as well, to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has not issued a statewide mask order.

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RELATED: Here are the Colorado cities, counties where face masks are required in essential businesses

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