DENVER (KDVR) — Denver’s indoor mask mandate expires on Friday, but it does not necessarily mean you can ditch your mask for good.
When Denver announced it would let its mask mandate expire, it specifically excluded Denver Public Schools and childcare facilities. Plus, due to a federal mask mandate involving travel, Denver International Airport and RTD will continue requiring masks as well.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a change in a hospital. I think there’s another good example of where a mask mandate goes away but I don’t think you’re going to see a single hospital in the state of Colorado say, oh, everybody can walk around mask-free,” National Jewish Health critical care pulmonologist Dr. Ken Lyn-Kew said.
Private businesses like restaurants, gyms and stores will be trickier for the public to navigate. Once the public health order requiring masks expires, it will be up to each individual business to set its own rules.
“Just because the City of Denver says no doesn’t mean Ball Arena has to abide by it. They could still say, they’re an individual location, an individual company, they could make their decisions based on the risk for their populations as well,” Lyn-Kew said.
According to Ball Arena’s website, masks are still required for event attendees. FOX31 reached out to see if the policy will change following the expiration of the mask mandate but representatives for the arena have not responded.
FOX31 did reach out to several other businesses and venues in Denver. Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Metropolitan State University and King Soopers will continue with their current mask policies. Cherry Creek Shopping Center, 24 Hour Fitness and Movement Gyms will no longer require patrons to mask up.
When it comes to restaurants, each one could be different.
“Without the public health policies in place most restaurants are not going to require masks. Now that said, some restaurants will ask you to wear a mask,” Colorado Restaurant Association spokesperson Denise Mickelsen said.
She said ending the mask mandate will help ease a financial burden for restaurants that must keep a supply of masks on hand for customers who came unprepared. However, Mickelsen said restaurant owners are split over what to do now that the decision is up to them.
“Some restaurants have expressed to us that they think it’s easier without the mandate. Others really wish there was a mandate. They actually wish that there was some instruction and requirement for all Coloradans from the state level,” Mickelsen said.
Her advice as a customer is to stay flexible when visiting businesses.
“It really depends on where you are and what restaurant you’re talking about. But we just ask that the public follows whatever requirements, whatever is asked of them,” she said.