Aspen council extends face mask law until at least July 15 |

Aspen council extends face mask law until at least July 15

Kirstin Klein passes masks out of Aspen City Hall to community members on Thursday, May 7, 2020.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Aspen City Council on Monday extended its face covering mandate by one month in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

The public health order was due to expire Wednesday, after council extended it last month from a previous action in April. Now it is set to expire July 15.

The extension is a signal to its residents and its guests that wearing a face mask or covering is one key part to Pitkin County’s public health order that specifically asks people to commit to five elements of containing the virus, which is spread through people’s mouths and droplets lingering in the air.

Council members Monday expressed their frustrations that people in large part are not wearing masks, which has proven to be an effective deterrent in the spread of COVID-19.

“Having a mask is one of the few things you can actually do to reduce your susceptibility to transmission of the virus,” Mayor Torre said. “I would’ve hoped that we were getting more compliance and cooperation both from residents as well as visitors.

“I really wanted this to be an advisory, not a mandate.”

Councilwoman Ann Mullins agreed.

“We’re having such trouble with compliance in town and I think we need to help the shop owners by standing firm of our requirements for face masks,” Mullins said. “I’ve been shocked at the number of people that don’t wear masks.”

The city’s facial-covering public health order mirrors that of county’s, which is that they must be worn outdoors if a person cannot maintain more than a 6-foot distance from someone not part of their household for 10 minutes or longer.

Facial coverings must be worn inside all buildings that are open to the public, according to the city and county’s public health orders.

The city’s public health order also reflects the county’s rule in that when a person enters a restaurant he or she must wear a face covering, but once seated at a table they do not.

Aspen was the second municipality behind Glenwood Springs to put a face covering public health order into effect in April.

Carbondale, Basalt and Snowmass Village followed suit.

Basalt Town Council last month extended its requirement that people wear face coverings while in indoor spaces of businesses that are accessible to the public. It will review the requirement again June 23.

Not wearing a face covering is subject to a $50 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second and a mandatory court appearance for any subsequent offense and a fine of as much as $2,650.

However, there is no active enforcement occurring.

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