Basalt and El Jebel affected by Eagle County’s return to mask mandate

Board of Health votes Wednesday to reinstate mask requirement for public, indoor spaces countywide

A mask mandate in public indoor settings is back in effect starting at noon Wednesday for Eagle County, including the Basalt and El Jebel areas.

The Eagle County commissioners, acting as the board of health, voted 3-0 Wednesday morning to reinstate the indoor mask mandate. It is in effect for all people, regardless of vaccination status.

Pitkin County’s indoor mask mandate has been in effect since September, creating awkward circumstances for Basalt, which is split between the counties. The mask mandate was in effect for businesses on the east side of Basalt, which is located in Pitkin County, but not for the majority of businesses, which are located in Eagle County. Now, all businesses will be under a mask mandate, including Whole Foods and City Market.

Eagle County public health director Heath Harmon advised the board of health to implement the mask mandate after an “alarming” rise in COVID-19 cases in Eagle County as well as the country.

“The case count was previously hovering at about 300 cases per 100,000; as of Dec. 22, that number was reported at over 1,000 cases per 100,000, the highest during the pandemic,” Eagle County government said in a news release Wednesday. “Officials theorize the spike is due to the rise of the highly transmissible omicron variant in the community, as well as a large number of visitors present during the holidays.”

Eagle County’s indoor mask mandate is set to expire Jan. 17 but will be reevaluated at that time.

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