DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis urged Colorado residents to continue wearing masks and social distancing during his Thursday update on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colorado has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks. Polis said the state has performed better than others during the pandemic, but he urged residents to wear masks and avoid gathering with more than four people.
"This is the summer of no parties," Polis said as he urged the state's younger residents in particular to socialize in small groups and avoid large parties.
"Whatever kind of fun you have, I don't care, whether it's legal or illegal fun, we're not even talking about that," Polis said. "We're talking about the health side."
Polis also said that bars and nightclubs "just don't work with the pandemic," when discussing his order to close those establishments again.
Polis said he hasn't ruled out any options when asked about issuing a state-wide mask mandate, but said Colorado did not have any way to enforce such an ordinance.
However, Polis applauded local municipalities that have enacted mask ordinances, but said that they are only effective if local authorities enforce them.
"I'm telling you to wear a mask," Polis said. "Wear a damn mask."
Polis also introduced a new website that can calculate and model COVID-19 scenarios in Colorado.
The website allows users to change variables like the percentage of residents wearing masks and social distancing. The website then displays graphs based on the variables that projects deaths, hospitalizations and more.
Polis said that the underlying truth is that all the variables like mask wearing and social distancing are controlled by human behavior, and again urged residents to wear mask and practice social distancing,
Polis spoke at a 1 p.m. news conference from the Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion. You can watch the full update on the 9NEWS YouTube page.
During a news conference last week, Polis ordered bars and nightclubs to close again to in-person service after two weeks of slight upticks in coronavirus cases in the state.
"We simply aren't ready to have the level of socializing that is inherent in a bar or nightclub setting," Polis said.
Bars that serve food and function as restaurants may stay open if they maintain guidelines, such as social distancing of at least six feet and only sitting with members of their own group or party.
Polis also said a big factor in how quickly we move forward will depend on personal responsibility. He stressed with less restrictions by the state, it's more important than ever for people to avoid large gatherings, maintain social distancing and wear masks.
"I can't stress enough that the fate of Colorado with suppressing this virus and our economic recovery is largely in your capable hands," he said. "Our ability to suppress the virus relies on individual choices Coloradans make."
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