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COVID In Colorado: Gov. Jared Polis Extends Mask Mandate Through Early May

DENVER (CBS4) -- The mask mandate in Colorado will remain in place for another 30 days, through early May, Gov. Jared Polis announced Friday. The current mandate was scheduled to expire on Saturday. The governor said the new public health order will have "modifications that account for where Colorado is in the pandemic."

Earlier this week, Gov. Polis indicated that he would extend the mask mandate for two weeks -- through mid-April.

An illustration photo taken on January 18, 2021 shows an FFP2 face mask in Salzburg, Austria, during the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. - Austria will extend its third lockdown at least until February 8, 2021 due to the variant of the coronavirus initially spotted in Britain, which is gaining ground, the government said on January 17, as discontent increases. Austria has decided to impose from January 25 a social distancing rule of two meters between each person in public places, instead of one meter until now. Wearing FFP2 masks will also become compulsory in stores and on public transport. (Photo by BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo by BARBARA GINDL/APA/AFP via Getty Images)

The governor issued the following statement:

"Here in Colorado we are making incredible progress with getting vaccines into arms and protecting our most vulnerable, but until everyone can get the vaccine and our COVID cases are reduced, taking precautions to prevent a surge in cases and further spread of the disease is the smart thing to do and the right thing to do and helps keep everything open. By continuing to wear our masks in public indoor settings around others, we can safely enjoy the activities we love and keep our economy open. Every community has been impacted differently by this pandemic, and we want to ensure this order is reflective of that. We're almost there, Colorado, but we need to keep this up just a little bit longer."

"I look forward to the day when immunity reaches a level that we no longer have to wear masks. Right now across our state, 1 in 207 people are currently contagious with COVID-19, and only an estimated 27% of Coloradans are already immune through either vaccination or prior infection. In the meantime, we must continue practicing vigilance by wearing masks especially if you aren't yet fully vaccinated, practicing social distancing when in public and in the company of people with unknown vaccine status. This modified mask order is a step towards the light at the end of the tunnel, and it acknowledges a transition away from most requirements for those counties in level green with very low transmission, 35 cases or less out of every 100,000, and the great achievement they have made towards ending the pandemic."

The updated Executive Order will continue to require mask-wearing in all counties in schools (including extracurricular activities), child care centers, indoor children's camps, public-facing state government facilities, congregate care facilities, prisons, jails, emergency medical and other healthcare settings, and personal services and limited healthcare settings.

In counties which are known in Dial 3.0 as blue, yellow, orange, red, and purple, masks must also be worn in all public indoor settings when 10 or more unvaccinated individuals or individuals of unknown vaccination status are present.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a new update to the COVID-19 Dial last week, which includes the potential for some counties to get an exemption to the statewide mandate.

The CDPHE still encourages everyone to wear a mask. Experts say not only should people keep wearing masks at this point in the pandemic, they may want to keep them for protection in the fall from other respiratory viruses.

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