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Colorado eases mask mandate in about half of its 64 counties

DENVER — Colorado will no longer require masks to be worn in most settings in the 31 counties that are on the lowest level of the state’s COVID-19 dial system, Gov. Jared Polis’ office announced Friday.

In the counties at Level Green, masks will only be required in schools, among congregate care visitors and in other high-risk settings such as health care facilities and hair salons, The Denver Post reported.

“Every community has been impacted differently by this pandemic, and we want to ensure this order is reflective of that,” Polis said.

Colorado has 64 counties.

The new 30-day order, which takes effect Sunday, will still require masks to be worn indoors in counties at Level Blue and higher when there are public gatherings of at least 10 unvaccinated people or people with an unknown vaccination status.

The order does not mention requiring proof of vaccination and puts much of the enforcement on business owners and operators.

Denver remains at Level Yellow on the state’s dial, and most of the metro area is at Level Blue or Level Yellow. Gilpin is the only county in the 10-county metro area at Level Green.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said Thursday he plans to keep the city’s mask mandate in place until at least early May regardless of what the state does. His jurisdiction has a consolidated city and county government.

Meanwhile, Jefferson County, which covers a large swath west and south of Denver and is at Level Blue, has its own local mask mandate that “supersedes the statewide order,” Ashley Sever, a spokeswoman for the county health department, told The Post. Residents must still wear face coverings inside and outdoors when at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) of distancing is not possible.

The decision to relax Colorado’s mask mandate follows moves by other states that have fully lifted their mask orders, against the recommendations of President Joe Biden and federal health officials.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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