JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) issued an order Tuesday requiring people to wear face coverings in public spaces. The mandate goes into effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
According to the order, face coverings are required in all public settings where keeping 6 feet of social distance is not possible.
Face coverings are not required in private homes or vehicles in which everyone is a member of the same household.
JCPH said the decision comes as coronavirus cases continue to climb in the county and other parts of the Denver area.
According to JCPH, there were 76 new COVID-19 cases the week of June 14. However, the week of July 5, there were 230 new cases.
“As cases have started to increase sharply across the Denver Metro Area and in Jefferson County, we are looking at the tools we have to prevent the surges that are happening in other parts of our country, including bordering states, from happening here,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, JCPH’s executive director. “While we have always strongly encouraged our residents to wear face coverings, we are joining others in the Denver Metro Area to take it a step further and make them mandatory.”
JCPH said it issued the mandate after Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) called upon local governments to increase mask-wearing efforts.
“We applaud JCPH for taking steps to increase mask wearing in Jefferson County,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, MPH, the executive director at CDPHE. “Evidence shows that when more people wear a mask, transmission of COVID-19 can be reduced, which means fewer people become ill with the virus and we can continue to rebuild our economy.”
There are exceptions for children under the age of 5 and for people with certain health and work conditions.
The Jefferson County Board of Health will hold a hearing on July 21 to determine if the order should be amended or extended.
A similar mandate has been issued by the Tri-County Health Department (which covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties) but it goes into effect July 24 and allows communities to opt out. Face coverings are also required in Denver and Boulder counties, meaning nearly the entire Denver metro area now has a face covering requirement in place.
More information on JeffCo’s mask requirement can be found on its website.