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Glenwood Springs requires public to wear face coverings for essential activities

Failure to comply with new order could result in a fine of up to $1,000 or 364 days in jail.

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Monica Mull and Kelly Williams, with LIFT-UP, wear homemade masks as they distribute food Wednesday at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle. Many residents are sewing their own masks as a percaution against COVID-19.
Kyle Mills/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Glenwood Springs residents and retail workers must wear face coverings until at least April 26 for all essential activities outside of their home.

In a 6-1 vote Monday night, council directed staff to draft an order that would not only recommend wearing face coverings in public but also require them in certain settings. Specifics of the order were announced Tuesday afternoon.

The city’s public health order requires face coverings for people “when entering and while inside of a place or conveyance open to the public.”
According to city attorney Karl Hanlon, the public health order does not require people to wear face coverings whenever they leave their home.

Instead, the order requires a face covering when individuals go to a public place where people cannot maintain safe social distancing. The order does not require face coverings for people younger than 2 or if it would cause impairment due to an existing health condition. The city encourages individuals to keep a face covering in their possession whenever leaving the house. Face coverings may include bandanas, scarves and other clothing without visible holes.

“There’s a reason that the governor’s order for the recommendation on face coverings does not say masks and that’s because we have a shortage of masks and (personal protective equipment),” Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup said at a special city council meeting Monday. “We do not want people going out and putting strain on that limited supply.”

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, especially where social distancing proves challenging like in grocery stores and pharmacies. The CDC was clear in recommending cloth face coverings, not surgical masks or N-95 respirators to protect supplies for healthcare workers and first responders.

“Do I feel like it’s important to have a face mask on if I’m walking down the Rio Grande Trail and nobody’s there? No,” Councilman Steve Davis said. “I think the intent, in my mind, would be when you’re in those public spaces where you cannot really control the distancing.”

Mayor Jonathan Godes, Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup as well as councilors Steve Davis, Paula Stepp and Charlie Willman supported requiring residents to wear face coverings in specific public settings.
Councilor Tony Hershey did not.

“As a more conservative person, I can’t support micromanaging people’s lives,” Hershey said. “To some extent we have to legislate… but this is a city council, we should do it in cooperation with the county government and with the state government and, yes, with the federal government.”

Failure to comply with the city’s public health order may result in a fine of up to $1,000 or 364 days in jail.

mabennett@postindependent.com


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