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July 20, 2020 -- Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on Thursday requiring facial coverings to be worn in indoor public spaces when social distancing is not possible.

Twenty-seven states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico now require face masks, according to CNN. The governors of Arkansas and Alabama also signed mask orders this week.

Polis, a Democrat, has encouraged mask-wearing all along but earlier said he wouldn’t issue an order covering the whole state. He changed course as coronavirus cases and deaths surged across in Colorado.

Confirmed cases have been rising 4 straight weeks and state health authorities said 15 coronavirus-related deaths were reported July 6-12 compared to 11 deaths the week before, the Denver Post reported.

The order went into effect at midnight Thursday and runs for at least 30 days. The order requires anybody 11 or older to wear a mask in an indoor public space, including businesses. Violators could be prosecuted as if they’d committed a trespass, the executive order says.

In a news release, Polis emphasized that masks could help the state economy as well as keep the people of Colorado safe.

“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,” Polis said. “Unfortunately, this pandemic is far from over, cases are up, and we have to find a way to live sustainably while protecting ourselves and those around us. Masks are the ticket to the Colorado we love and a critical part of supporting Colorado’s economy and prosperity. The best way to support Colorado workers and businesses right now is to wear a mask.”

At least one law enforcement agency, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, said it would not enforce the statewide mandate.

“We cannot afford to take actions that further erode the public trust in us,” the agency said on Twitter. “As such, the official position of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office is to continue to educate the public on the benefits of wearing face coverings in enclosed public places. We will stress that wearing a mask will slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. We will not, however, be expending resources of the S.O. on issuing citations to individuals not wearing masks.”

Show Sources

Colorado Governor Executive Order

CNN. These are the states requiring people to wear masks when out in public

Denver Post. Colorado’s weekly COVID-19 count hits highest level since May as upward trend continues

Governor's website. Governor Polis Announces Statewide Mask Order

Twitter - EPC Sheriff

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