Basalt extends mandatory mask ordinance into January 2021 |

Basalt extends mandatory mask ordinance into January 2021

Kaya Williams
The Aspen Times

Basalt Town Council unanimously approved a resolution to extend the town’s mask ordinance by three months at a meeting Tuesday night, hours before it was set to expire.

The vote reflects similar moves from neighboring communities in the Roaring Fork Valley to extend face-covering mandates.

The ordinance, previously set to expire Tuesday, will remain in place until Jan. 27.

“The thing that we have been doing is essentially mirroring what we’re seeing in the valley,” Basalt Town Manager Ryan Mahoney said at the Town Council meeting. “What are our neighbors doing?”

Earlier this month, Aspen City Council similarly voted to extend the city’s ordinance, which includes a mandatory mask zone in the downtown commercial core, through May 1.

Snowmass Village also is considering an extension of its mask regulations — currently in place through Nov. 10 — to last through April 20, with the addition of more mandatory mask zones; a second reading of the proposed ordinance is slated for the Town Council meeting Monday. Closing day at Snowmass Ski Area and Aspen Mountain is set for April 18.

Basalt Town Council’s decision to extend the mask ordinance does not alter the town’s current face covering guidance; face coverings are required when entering and inside businesses as well as any place that social distancing cannot be practiced, both indoors and outdoors. Children younger than the age of 2 and individuals with health issues are exempt from the order; masks are not required during momentary interactions.

The town’s mask guidelines are more stringent than Colorado’s statewide mask order, which exempts children 10 and younger from the mandate and recommends — but does not require — that masks be worn outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible.

Gov. Jared Polis extended the statewide mask mandate through Nov. 10, with additional extensions reviewed on a month-by-month basis.

Carbondale on March 17 instituted its mask ordinance that will expire only when the emergency declaration is lifted or the town board decides to end it.

With COVID-19 cases rising across the country, including nine new cases reported Tuesday in Pitkin County, Basalt Town Council intends to keep a close eye on the numbers and consider additional extensions to the current ordinance if the need arises.

Pitkin County is currently in the safer-at-home level 2 “concern” status, according to the state’s coronameter.

“The curve is not going in the right direction right now,” Mayor Bill Kane said. “We’ve got a winter coming on here that’s going to be pretty challenging.”

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