DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis has announced a statewide mask requirement for indoor spaces. The mandate applies to everyone over the age of 10. It takes effect at midnight tonight.

“The bottom line, like all Coloradans, I want to enjoy life, get a hair cut, protect our economy, and protect lives. One of the powerful tools that our state has done well on but can do better on is wearing a mask,” Governor Polis said.

There are a few exceptions, including eating, exercising alone, and services where a mask would interfere with the service.

“We have seen an acceleration in cases from the last week in June to the first week of July. We are concerned this is going to be a trend in our state,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the Colorado State Epidemiologist, said.

The Governor stated he decided to put into effect this new order after a few cities around Colorado, who had mask mandates in place, had a lower number of cases than those who didn’t.

“The areas of our state that have had mask-wearing requirements have had a slower spread of the virus,” the Governor said.

Several Denver-area governments had already implemented mandatory mask requirements. In southern Colorado, the mayor of Manitou Springs said they would be implementing one soon.

“This is the least costly and simplest intervention we can do,” the Governor said.

Several major retailers, including King Soopers, Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s, have also instituted mandatory mask requirements.

Polis also said Thursday that he’ll be pausing the approval of new local and county-level variances for two weeks.

Discussing schools, Polis said the state has enough medical-grade masks to provide one per week to every teacher and student-facing staff member in Colorado.

The Governor stated people going into a public indoor place without a mask would be violating state law when it comes to trespassing.

“If someone were to run into a store naked or without a mask, they are trespassing. This gives that store the ability to call local law enforcement to enforce a trespassing charge, to make sure they keep their customers and workers safe,” Governor Polis said.

He is asking everyone to keep up with the social distancing while still wearing masks. He said both are important when it comes to keeping control of the virus.

Watch the full press conference on the governor’s Facebook page:

The El Paso County Sheriffs Office tweeted Thursday that despite the Governor’s health order, deputies will not be issuing citations for people not wearing masks. They will, however, “continue to educate the public on the benefits of wearing face coverings.”

Mayor Suthers also tweeted after Polis issued the executive order requiring most people to wear masks in all public indoor spaces, noting our local coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have been increasing over the last couple weeks and encouraging all Colorado Springs residents to wear a mask.

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