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Aspen Public Radio will keep you informed on the latest information about the coronavirus here in Colorado and the Valley.

What Does The New Statewide Mask Order Mean For Coloradans?

Courtesy Sue Sharpe

Governor Jared Polis announced a statewide mask order on Thursday, directing Coloradans to wear a face covering while indoors.

The statewide mandatory mask order requires anyone over the age of 10 to wear a face covering over their noses and mouths when entering or moving within any public indoor space. It also mandates face coverings while using or waiting to use public transportation or taxis, car services and ride shares.

“Wearing a mask is an easy and highly effective way to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19. The more we wear masks, the safer we will be and the stronger our economy will grow,” said Polis.

“The best way to support Colorado workers and businesses right now is to wear a mask.”

The order is in effect for 30 days but may be extended.

What Qualifies As A Public Indoor Space?

Any enclosed indoor area that is accessible to the public. Public indoor spaces include places of work, retail stores, gyms, medical facilities, nonprofits, theatres, places of worship and grocery stores.

Public indoor space does not mean a person’s residence, or rooms in hotels.

Who Is Exempt?

○ Anyone who is hearing-impaired, otherwise disabled or communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled when the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication.

○ Those seated at a restaurant.

○ Those who are exercising alone or with others from your household

○ Anyone receiving a personal service where the temporary removal of the mask is necessary.

○ Those entering a business or receiving services who are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes.

○ Law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel who are actively managing an emergency.

○ Religious officiants at a service.

○ Those giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience.

○ People ten years or younger.

○ People who cannot medically tolerate a face covering.

Do I Have To Wear A Mask When I Exercise?

You do not have to wear a mask if you are exercising alone or with others from your own household, indoors or outdoors. However, if you are exercising with a group of people in a public indoor space, then yes, you must wear a mask.

Do I Have To Wear A Mask Outdoors?

The executive order does not state that you must wear a mask outdoors unless you are waiting on public or non-personal transportation. But health officials say it is best to wear a mask whenever you are in crowded spaces, either indoors or out.

What Happens If People Don’t Comply?

The order says they may be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Someone who tries to enter a store without a mask could be prosecuted for trespassing. And a licensed business is at risk of losing its license if it does not comply with the order.

Can Cities And Counties Opt Out Of The Statewide Mask Order?

Yes, counties that are certified for Protect Our Neighbors status may choose to be exempt from the statewide mask order.

Can I Get Carbon Dioxide Poisoning Or Lowered Oxygen Levels From Wearing A Mask?

According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, “for many years, health care providers have worn masks for extended periods of time with no adverse health reactions ... there is no risk of hypoxia, which is lower oxygen levels, in healthy adults. Carbon dioxide will freely diffuse through your mask as you breathe.”

Contributor Christin Kay is passionate about the rich variety of arts, cultural experiences and stories in the Roaring Fork Valley. She has been a devotee of public radio her whole life. Christin is a veteran of Aspen Public Radio, serving as producer, reporter and interim news director.
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