DENVER (KDVR) — COVID-19 restrictions are getting tighter for people in the Mile High City.
Mayor Michael Hancock issued two new health orders that start immediately.
One of the orders addresses face masks and when you need to wear them. The other will impact your plans to visit close friends and family.
Cracking down on COVID, Mayor Hancock issued a public health order Friday to tighten guidance on wearing face masks.
“If you are outdoors, congregating with people outside of your immediate household members, you will be required to wear a face covering,” said Bob McDonald, Executive Director of Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment.
Another order was issued concerning how many people can be in one place, at the same time.
“We’re also going to issue an order that further restricts gatherings from 10 to five people. So right now, the limit on a public gathering whether it’s the 16th Street Mall or one of our wonderful parks here, no more than five people should be gathering,” McDonald said.
Each order has exceptions for people participating in organized sports, activities, learning environment, and businesses that are following separate guidance approved by the state.
Less formal gatherings need to keep those groups small.
“At the individual level, if they are congregating at numbers that are not allowed, they would run the risk of being issued a summons to court and that activity, that large gathering would be broken up,” McDonald explained.
That order focused on limiting groups is only effect until Nov. 16. Leaders plan to re-examine that order after seeing how things go this month. The face mask mandate is in effect until further notice.
When it comes to offices, “if you can go virtual, go virtual”.
Doctors say while the risk of COVID transmission outside is low, it’s still possible.
“It may not be a huge risk, but it’s not zero,” says Dr. Michelle Barron.
Barron says that risk increases at things like barbecues, where people are standing around in one area.
“Even though you’re outside, you’re close to each other, and you’re talking, and drinking, and eating and there’s all that potential for that to happen.” says Barron. “And I think that’s where some of the lapses have occurred, is people being like, ‘Oh, but we’re outside.'”
At Denver’s Washington Park on Friday, a number of groups were mingling on the grass and playing pick-up basketball without masks.
Both of those activities will now require masks, unless you’re recreating with people in your household.
“The cost of having to cover your face with a piece of cloth is a small price to pay compared to gasping for breath later if you get someone sick,” said Cassie Childers.
Childers says she has been wearing a mask outside for months if she’s near anyone she doesn’t live with.
“Since day one, since they said masks were a good idea, even if I was just crossing the sidewalk with someone, I generally had my mask on,” she says. “Just because you never know if they’re carrying it, or you’re carrying it, you could get someone sick.”