Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Friday extended his statewide mask-wearing mandate, aimed at reducing spread of the coronavirus, into mid September.
The mandate, requiring Coloradans 11 years old and above to wear a mask when in indoor public spaces, was set to expire this weekend. It will now be in effect until at least Sept. 13.
Violators may be “subject to civil or criminal penalties, including but not limited to prosecution for trespass,” the governor’s order says.
“We have learned that widespread mask use is a low cost and highly effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections by as much as 65%,” Polis said in his order extending the mandate. “Broad adoption of mask wearing in Colorado may have significant economic benefits by allowing the State to prevent re-closures of businesses and schools and, ultimately, return to our normal lives more quickly.”
The extension, which lasts 30 days, was expected.
Polis was initially hesitant to enact a mask mandate, but after cases and hospitalizations began rising steadily in Colorado, and after a host of counties and cities enacted mask-wearing requirements, he embraced the idea.
Local public health departments in Colorado, which have been doing public mask-wearing surveillance, report they have seen 90% compliance in recent weeks, coinciding with Polis’ order. That’s after those percentages were slipping in June.