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Colorado governor issues executive order allowing business to refuse service to maskless customers

"Don't be that guy -- wear a mask," Gov. Jared Polis said.

Gov. Jared Polis speaks to reporters at the Colorado Convention Center on Friday, April 10, 2020. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday unveiled an executive order allowing businesses across Colorado to refuse service to customers who won’t wear a mask.

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“With this executive order, it’s fine for businesses across our state to say to say ‘no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service,'” Polis said.

The order is the latest effort by Polis to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the state. The governor said he believes businesses already have the legal authority to deny people service if they aren’t wearing a mask, but he wanted to clear up any gray areas that may exist after conflicts have arisen.

In Aurora, a 27-year-old man was charged with attempted first-degree murder after he allegedly shot a Waffle House employee who asked him to wear a mask.

Meanwhile, a woman in Aurora was violently attacked in a Target after asking a group of people to give her more space out of social distancing concerns.

Polis said businesses absolutely have the right to protect their employees and their customers.

“Don’t be that guy — wear a mask,” Polis said at a news conference at the governor’s mansion in Denver, during which he unveiled the order. “… Wearing a mask is easy.”

Polis also announced a public service campaign urging Coloradans to wear masks on Thursday, including a video. He said billboards will go up around the state encouraging people to cover their faces.

The governor’s office said much campaign’s costs are being covered by philanthropic groups. There will also be digital advertising as part of the effort.

There are more than 27,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Colorado, though officials caution there are likely many times more that who have been infected but who have yet to be tested or are asymptomatic.

More than 1,500 people who have contracted the disease have died, 1,254 of those directly because of the virus.

“The danger remains very real,” Polis said.

Rising Sun