Aspen poised to eliminate mask law
Special meeting set for Tuesday; Aspen City Council expected to rescind ordinances that require masks indoors
Aspen City Council is expected to vote on Tuesday to do away with requiring people to wear face masks indoors.
A special meeting has been called before council’s work session at 4 p.m. on June 1.
City Attorney Jim True said on Friday that he will recommend that council rescind Ordinances 9 and 12, which address COVID-19 restrictions and facial coverings.
“The desire is to terminate the restriction immediately,” he said. “The goal is to withdraw our order so it becomes up to businesses and individuals.”
The move comes days before a similar easing of restrictions is anticipated by the Pitkin County Board of Health, which has called a special meeting for 1 p.m. Thursday, June 3.
“This meeting is being called in light of stakeholder feedback and requests to reconsider the Pitkin County public health order based on the updated CDC guidance and updated state Public health order,” said public information officer Tracy Trulove via email on Friday.
Currently, both the city and county require face coverings in public indoor settings and on public transportation for individuals over the age of 2.
Businesses may allow individuals to remove their masks in an indoor public setting if 80% of the total venue has shown proof of vaccination.
Businesses that seek exemption to the face covering requirement are required to have all non-vaccinated individuals show proof of a negative test.
So, a minimum of 80% of individuals need to be fully vaccinated while a maximum of 20% of individuals need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, according to the county’s public health order.
Aspen Mayor Torre said having the city rescind its ordinances is to avoid confusion and miscommunication regarding COVID-19 restrictions.
“We want to do what we can to clear up misdirection the guidance has come out with,” he said. “We are trying to clean it up because right now people are applying whatever guidance they see fit.”
Tuesday’s meeting will be the first one held in-person in council chambers in City Hall in 14 months.
People who attend the meeting will be required to wear a face mask and only 20 people will be allowed in the room to meet social distancing requirements.
Grassroots TV will broadcast the meeting on channel 11.
“We are asking the community’s patience as we continue to make sure that we’ve worked through all of the technology hurdles of being in person and sooner when we layer a hybrid component for potential staff involvement at the June 8 meeting, regular meeting instead of being virtual that day,” City Manager Sara Ott said at this past Tuesday during council’s regular meeting.
If capacity is exceeded, the Sister Cities room across from council chambers will be used.
June 1 also marks the day that city employees will return to their offices, with some flexible work arrangements determined by their directors and supervisors.
“Around June 15 we expect to open all of our doors for full service hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Ott said. “Some services will be still by appointment as we continue to manage spaces in a safe way.”
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