Today, Tri-County Health Department’s face covering order went into effect. The order was amended to align with Governor Polis’ statewide order that went into effect July 16. The Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) order, like the Governor’s order, requires people to wear a facemask in public spaces and, in addition, requires use of face coverings in outdoor spaces when social distancing cannot be maintained.
Today’s action is the culmination of a July 8 directive from TCHD’s Board of Health to issue public health orders requiring the use of face coverings when out in public where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Apart from requiring face-coverings in outdoor locations when 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained, the key difference between TCHD’s order and the Governor’s order is a longer duration of up to 90 days rather than 30 days. To increase consistency and avoid confusion, TCHD has amended our order to align with the Governor’s Executive Order on all other aspects. This includes exempting children 10 and younger from wearing a mask.
While we know that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is greater indoors than outdoors, close contact in any setting without a face covering can be a risk. As such, face coverings are required when engaged in outdoor activity where 6-foot distancing cannot be maintained. Furthermore, it is unlikely that transmission rates will be reduced in the next 30 days, especially since this timeframe used in the Governor’s order will include the anticipated re-opening of schools. The ultimate duration of the TCHD order will be based primarily on key indicators of the epidemic (e.g., incidence rates, hospitalizations and bed capacity, and deaths) as well as measures of mask compliance and may be amended, extended or rescinded based on that information.
Several areas have opted out of TCHD’s local order; however, these jurisdictions will remain under the statewide 30-day mask order of the Governor for its duration including potential extensions. The communities that opted out of TCHD’s order include:
- Douglas County
- City of Castle Pines
- Town of Deer Trail
- City of Brighton
- Town of Castle Rock
- Town of Bennett
- Arapahoe County East of Watkins Road to county line
- Town of Parker
- City of Glendale
- Columbine Valley
“Wearing a face covering is one of the most important prevention measures we can take to control the spread of COVID-19, said John Douglas, Jr., MD and Executive Director of the Tri-County Health Department. “Together we can limit the spread of the virus and keep vulnerable members of our communities healthy as well as help to keep our economy open and give our schools a chance to re-open as fully as possible.”
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