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City Of Denver Gets Tougher On Face Mask Enforcement During COVID Surge

DENVER (CBS4)- As the number of COVID-19 cases rapidly rises, the City of Denver says it is getting stricter on mask violation enforcement- now targeting individuals. City health inspectors, sheriff's deputies and Denver police are involved in making sure everyone follows the rules.

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If you are not wearing a mask, you may now get more than just a warning. That applies in any situation where they are required in the City of Denver.

Bob Mc Donald, the executive director of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment told CBS4, "I just saw one (citation) this morning, 10 people at a business not wearing face coverings, that has got to stop and we are going to start issuing a summons to court to individuals."

CBS4 found that the business, ESS Metron, an electronics manufacturer, had 10 people in violation. Inspectors were told by staff that managers had indicated it was not necessary to wear masks at their desks. They said they are trying to mitigate the problems.

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Zip Clinic, an urgent care clinic which also provides COVID-19 testing, was cited for having 2 employees without masks and within six feet of each other. The clinic had no comment.

Denver's top health official says individuals may get a court summons which can carry up to 300 days in jail and $999 fine. The penalty is up to a judge.

One couple on Broadway was spotted walking down the street. One had a mask on, the other didn't. CBS4 asked them if they think the penalties are fair.

The woman replied, "I didn't even know that is going on," while the man stated, "That seems really excessive."

Bella Italia restaurant on Leetsdale was given a citation for lack of masks by employees and social distancing violations. Workers there said the problems have been corrected and the inspectors have returned twice to make sure.

Until now, the city has given some 3,000 warnings, 227 citations, saying it's not a matter of politics.

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"And so we have got to put our differences aside in order for us to get through this," said McDonald

People wanting to report face mask violators are asked to call 311.

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