Denver metro mayors call on Polis for more consistent enforcement of COVID-19 orders

jared polis coronavirus covid-19 colorado polis
Posted at 11:14 AM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-05 15:37:14-05

DENVER — Twenty-six Denver metro mayors, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, wrote a letter to Gov. Jared Polis last week calling for clearer messaging on state health orders and more consistent enforcement of those orders, specifically in Weld County, where officials have defied COVID-19 restrictions.

The mayors asked Polis for a meeting to discuss their concerns, though it was unclear if the meeting has happened yet. Polis, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, was expected Tuesday to give a virtual COVID-19 update with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"We agree that we must do better and do our part to flatten the curve to avoid exceeding our hospital capacity which would lead to a reduction in quality of care, rationing of care, and increasing mortality rates," the mayors wrote in the letter. "However, to be a good partner to the state, we need a clearer understanding of the data that is driving decision making to ensure effective messaging."

In addition to Hancock, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman also signed the Nov. 23 letter, along with mayors from Arvada, Lone Tree, Lakewood, Westminster, Castle Pines, Boulder, Englewood, Wheat Ridge, Bow Mar, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, Commerce City, Edgewater, Erie, Golden, Greenwood Village, Lafayette, Louisville, Northglenn, Parker, Sheridan and Superior.

The mayors said Weld County "was raised repeatedly as an example of how inconsistent enforcement of public health orders and application of Dial level criteria creates serious challenges for metro area elected officials and public health departments."

"Additionally, local governments that refuse to enforce public health orders should not receive state aid or any share of state funding normally allocated," the mayors wrote. "Willful non-compliance jeopardizes the lives of their residents and those in neighboring counties."

The mayors called on Polis and state officials to be clear that the Level Red restrictions are a "last chance" before another lockdown.

"We understand that we are all learning as we go, but nine months into this crisis, there is widespread agreement that we must improve communication and coordination," the mayors wrote.

Weld County has drawn criticism from officials. County officials have said they won't enforce Level Red COVID-19 restrictions. Sheriff Steve Reams has said Weld County residents should "wear a mask if you are at risk (if you choose to)," but that deputies will not enforce the state mask mandate.

Last week, Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley said he does not want the city's two hospitals treating COVID-19 patients from Weld County or any county that refuses to comply with state restrictions.

Bagley later walked back his comments, saying he would not ask city officials to order no Weld County residents at Longmont hospitals, though it was unclear whether such an order would be legal.