Four Colorado counties reinstate mask mandates, causing some confusion, but mostly praise

Boulder, Pitkin counties among first to mask-up
California face masks
Posted at 7:39 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 09:34:29-04

BOULDER, Colo. -- In the heart of Boulder, business is humming along, the streets are full of people and inside shops like Crystal Joy Gallery, masks are required once again.

“We are a rock and mineral store down here on the Pearl Street Mall,” said manager Kahtia Bhatt. “It’s important for me to protect other people, as well as protecting myself.”

Bhatt says she’s in favor of the new mask mandate.

“I think that it’s important because we have a high rate of transmission in Boulder County right now,” Bhatt said.

Boulder County is the first county in Colorado to reinstate a mask mandate since the statewide mandate was lifted back in May. Pitkin County, where Aspen is located, is now poised to do the same.

And San Miguel County as well as San Juan County, both in southwestern Colorado, have reinstated mask mandates also according to Greg Craig of Telluride, a member of the advisory committee to the San Miguel County public health director.

That brings the list up to four - in terms of counties returning to mask mandates in Colorado.

“If they would crack down, it would help out a lot and it would help us with our jobs,” said Suzanne, a nurse at Denver Health.

“I agree,” said Amy, another nurse. “I support it. I think it’s overdue just because of the different strains that have been emerging.”

Dr. Anna Euser is an associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine for the University of Colorado Hospital who says a mask is a barrier to prevent spread.

Health care officials say while differing mandates county by county can be confusing, if you're traveling across the state, just be aware.

“I’ve started to wear a mask again myself as I’m out in the community and going about my day-to-day activities,” said Euser with UCHealth. “Even though I’m fully vaccinated. In my opinion, until we have a much higher universal vaccination rate, the safest thing for everybody is for everybody to wear masks.”

Euser and other health care workers point out transmission rates are rising just as cooler weather is approaching.

Back in Boulder, thousands like Bridget Sweeney will converge on the city and CU Boulder campus this weekend for the CU v. Minnesota game.

“I just flew in from Chicago,” Sweeney said. “And I’m doing my part, wearing my mask when I can. I am vaccinated, but others don’t know that – so sometimes it’s just the symbol of wearing my mask that makes others feel comfortable.”

“It’s not a political thing,” Bhatt said. “It’s a health thing and everybody should be on board with it.”

The latest CDC guidance recommends fully vaccinated people continue to mask indoors in areas where the new virus is surging. As of Thursday night, only three Colorado counties fell outside of that recommendation.