DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A judge has issued an early blow to the Douglas County Health Department in a lawsuit that alleges the agency was illegally formed and its order hollowing out mask requirements is illegitimate, in the latest burst of courtroom drama in a county divided over masking and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawsuit was filed in early January by a Montessori school director and a salon owner, both of whom wanted to keep universal mask orders but were barred from doing so by the county's newly formed health department. In one of its first acts, the health department's board voted in early October to require any entity with mask requirements to allow for exemptions, an order that triggered an immediate and successful legal challenge by the Douglas County School District.
District Judge Jeffrey Holmes has now handed the Montessori school and salon an early victory: On Friday, he temporarily blocked the health department from enforcing its mask-loosening order, effectively clearing the way for any entity in the county to institute a universal mask requirement for the time being, while the rest of the case is litigated.
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