DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment extended existing public health orders and amended another on Saturday requiring face masks for unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated people in locations serving vulnerable populations.
These locations include hospitals, jails, prisons and shelters like the Denver Rescue Mission, seeing 2,000 plus people a day at their shelters and food operations.
“We are in tight quarters, it is not a secret, so just putting the health of everyone who enters into our shelters at the forefront has been super important,” Denver Rescue Mission’s Public Relations Manager Nicole Tschetter said.
Tschetter told FOX31 this latest update in state orders won’t change anything at the Denver Rescue Mission.
“We never lifted the mask requirement at all of our shelters, our senior leadership made the decision to still require masks for all of staff, volunteer and guests since the original order went into effect a year ago,” Tschetter said.
The state cited a rise in delta variant cases for the reasoning behind this latest guidance. FOX31 is looking into how the rise is impacting local businesses as well.
“It’s always in the back of our head: ‘are they going to shut us down again, can we weather that storm if it does,’” Chocolate Lab Denver owner Phil Simonson said.
While there’s no current mask mandate in place for Denver restaurants, Simonson made a decision Saturday to ask his staff at Chocolate Lab to bring masks back.
“If we’re in the back in the kitchen, because we are all vaccinated here, I’m letting them take a breather, but when they are out with the customers they have to put them on,” Simonson said. “Since we are such an intimate restaurant, I want to make sure my customers and my staff are safe with anything going around.”
Simonson says customers have the choice to wear masks or not, it is encouraged if you are not vaccinated, but up to you.
One business down, the record shop Twist and Shout has a new sign outside saying people going inside are required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status beginning Aug. 2.
The owners told FOX31 their decision is not political and purely an effort to keep staff and customers safe.
Shoppers say they understand and respect the update.
“Absolutely, given the news and the increase in cases, I think it is understandable,” customer Daniel said.