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Aspen council better act fast on masks

In the midst of our national nightmare we abruptly find Aspen as the go-to maskless “safe zone” for people from everywhere. Too many are fleers from the red-hot COVID-19 spots. Welcome, I guess. But, oh yeah, cha-ching!

Texas, Florida, California and Arizona seem to be the top four among out-of-state license plates all over town. Seems every other car is from Texas and this makes no sense, because if you talk to a Texan there’s no place on earth they’d rather be than in Texas. Even Tanya Tucker sang, “When I die I may not go to Heaven … but Texas is as close as I’ve been.”

Yet the young and impenetrable, the Range Rover refugees, Cayenne castaways, science scoffers, hoax-heads, jet trash, and assorted protégés of our “Malignant Buffoon” (credit there to George Will) troop around Aspen and sardine up in the parks with buck-naked faces as if it were July 2019.

Though a bit late to the obvious, City Council has taken notice of the maskless droves and is now tiptoeing around an emergency ordinance requiring masks in the downtown. The three options on the table where masks would be required are an inner zone, a central zone — both delineated by streets — or a blanket citywide zone. Clearly the citywide zone is the best choice.

First, few of our visitors know Aspen Street from Sam Houston Boulevard or Neale Avenue from Rodeo Drive. To avoid complicated street postings and excuses from the unmasked — i.e., “There was no close sign where I skied”— better to say masks required in the city of Aspen. Then sort the details and exceptions through friendly enforcement, with a stinging second offense.

Second, since outbreak evidence is undeniable after our reckless national experiment of whether to deny the virus or fight it, why dawdle longer? As tri-counties Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle cases rise, out-of-state stealth Typhoid Marys spend and recreate with little appreciation of our three-month hibernation to clean the air for them.

Third, while so many visitors from states who are now setting daily records are seeping urine into the rest of the pool, better to skip studies, portal statistics and referendums.

Please, honorable council, act boldly before we face the close quarters of cold weather and the winter inundation of myopic travelers. Plan ahead. Pyongyang odds today are 60/40 for a ski season.

Yours ‘til Texas is smaller …

Tim Cooney

Aspen


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