MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. — Manitou Springs Mayor John Graham confirmed masks will soon be mandatory in the city.
On Tuesday, July 14, with full intentions to promote public health and safety, City Council gave direction, under the City’s current emergency ordinance, to implement an order requiring mask usage.
The mayor and city council came to the decision during an emergency work session Tuesday night.
Graham said the emergency resolution is due to heavy tourism and its potential to bring the virus into the town.
A survey promoted by the Manitou Springs Creative District send out to residents asked the community about their COVID concerns.
About 91 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned or moderately” about their vulnerable neighbors and 81 percent said they were “very concerned or moderately” about people not wearing masks.
“I think it’s fair to say the number one concern is for those people who are vulnerable,” said Manitou Springs Creative District director Becca Sickbert. “Overall Manitou Springs residents are concerned about protecting people and masks are one way of doing that.”
The survey also asked about business and economic health. About 91 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned or moderately” the loss of locally-owned or small businesses.
“We have to ask ourselves, how can we balance public and economic health? They are so intertwined, you can’t talk about one right now without the other,” Sickbert said. “It seems like small ask to ask people when they step into an inside environment whether its a restaurant or a retail shop to put on even if it’s just a disposable masks.”
Details about the requirement, including the exact conditions in which people need to wear masks, will be figured out in the coming days.
Graham said the resolution will likely go into effect this weekend, making Manitou the first city in El Paso County to mandate masks.
Graham said normally council members would take the issue to a vote, but due to COVID-19, they can make a resolution without a formal count.
The mayor said they will be fairly lenient with punishments, and will likely just have police officers reminding people to put on masks.