Parents protesting the Tri-County Health Department mask order for kids ages 2 to 11 pray outside the Adams County Government Center on Tuesday before a county board of commissioners public hearing. (Liam Adams, CCM)

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. Support CCM’s neighborhood news. The Colorado Sun is an owner of CCM.

The Adams County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 on Tuesday to opt out of a Tri-County Health Department order that requires masks for kids ages 2 to 11 in indoor school and child-care settings. 

The vote followed an anti-mask rally outside the Adams County Government Center in Brighton and a 30-minute discussion among the board that drew raucous responses from the audience.

Board Chair Eva Henry and Commissioners Chaz Tedesco and Lynn Baca voted to opt out of the order that Tri-County’s board approved Aug. 17.

Commissioners Emma Pinter and Steve O’Dorisio voted against opting out.

The board didn’t originally schedule a discussion on opting out of the order for its public hearing. However, after angry parents filled the chambers, the board added the item to the agenda immediately when the hearing started.

The commissioners went around the dais and said how they would vote and why. Henry said she supports the intent of Tri-County’s order, but that the order is flawed because it allowed counties to opt out.   

The order puts the onus on the commissioners, Henry said. “County commissioners are not health experts and should not be in the position of making decisions about our residents’ health. That decision should be up to our health department,” she said.

Tedesco and Baca echoed Henry’s sentiment. Baca said the current predicament makes a case for Adams County leaving the Tri-County Health Department.

After seeing that a majority of the board will vote for opting out, Pinter became emotional as she made her comments.

“They (Tri-County) have made a recommendation, it is our job to take the recommendation of those members of the board of health who quite frankly have put their lives on the line, who have feared for their safety,” Pinter said seconds before the board voted. “I would implore my colleagues our authority that we have delegated to tri-county health and take the recommendation seriously and follow this order which is designed to protect our children.”