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Governor’s loosened mask order does not apply in counties with stricter rules

Many counties have current mask mandates that generally do not allow mask-less, indoor gatherings.

COLORADO, USA — Despite the state’s announcement Sunday that mask rules could be loosened for people gathering indoors, counties that have stricter orders may opt for keeping their mandates status quo.

The state’s order could apply to groups of 10 or more unvaccinated people in counties with more than 35 cases per 100,000 people, as long as at least 80% of them have shown proof of vaccination.

Many counties have current mask mandates that generally do not allow for mask-less, indoor gatherings.

9news reached out to multiple counties to find out where they stood:

Denver County:

A spokesperson said the current mask order will remain in effect.

“Denver is planning to keep their current mask mandate until it’s set to expire the end of May. It will be reevaluated at that time.”

Jefferson County:

A spokesperson said they are discussing their options, but the current order will stay put for now.

“JCPH’s local public health order PHO 20-008 is currently in effect through May 5 (unless updated before then), and requires mask-wearing in indoor public spaces when 6 ft. can’t be maintained, regardless of vaccination status.”

Tri-County (Adams and Arapahoe):

A spokesperson, Gary Sky, said their county rules, which expire on May 15th, are still in effect.

“Our executive staff is discussing the options, but I do not have an answer or a timeline for that decision," Sky said.

"There is a face covering order in place for Adams and Arapahoe counties; the most protective order takes precedence."

"Each person over ten (10) years old, when in Adams, Arapahoe, or Douglas County* must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when entering or within any Public Indoor Spaces. Face coverings should be worn regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status except in settings designated as not needing such by CDC guidance," according to Sky.

Gilpin County:

The county’s Emergency Manager, Nathan Whittington, will keep their mask order in place.

“With where we are currently, we’re kind of erring on the side of caution and I don’t believe there will be a modification to the mask order, but we are looking at it on a month-to-month basis.”

Whittington expressed concern with how the county is expected to issue guidance for its businesses as to how vaccine levels will be tracked, specifically with casinos in Central City and Black Hawk.

“People go in and out of the casinos hourly to go walk around, get something to drink, go to a different casino,” Whittington said. “Not only are you tracking people coming in, seeing if they’ve been vaccinated, but now you’re having to track the amount of people that are leaving the casino, and which part of the population are they in? The vaccinated or unvaccinated? The flux of numbers is always changing and there’s really no straightway to go about figuring out the population in that facility.”

He and other county leaders are putting together a list of questions and concerns for the state, and are planning to send them over when they are organized.

Douglas County:

Commissioners opted out of Tri-County Health Department orders, and because of that, DougCo will adopt state’s guidelines.

“We respect and appreciate the governor’s willingness to relax the mask order based upon current vaccination rates and lower severity metrics,” Commissioner Abe Laydon told 9NEWS. 

“Logistically, I think it will be very impractical and difficult to have people prove whether they’ve been vaccinated a lot and it may lead to more confusion.”

Laydon said he will continue to push for county residents to make their own decisions about mask-wearing.

“Our preference in Douglas County would be to let those adults make those decisions for themselves, let businesses make those decisions for themselves based on the data and based on the information they’re receiving,” Laydon said.