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'This Is Crunch Time': Gov. Polis Says It's Crucial To Wear Masks To Help Economy Recover

DENVER (CBS4) -- On Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis warned that Coloradans must continue to wear masks in public and practice social distancing to prevent "exponential growth" in the number of coronavirus cases.

"If we go back to living the way we did in January and December, when we took life for granted, the virus will have exponential growth, we know that, in that social environment that we had," Gov. Polis stated. "In January, February, the virus grew exponentially in our state. Now the good news is I don't think Coloradans are going back to that but we, it's a challenge for people, a matter of individual responsibility."

"This is crunch time, folks. We need to make sure that for the next few weeks and months, we wear our masks in public, when we're out with others, especially with all the new freedoms we enjoy with all the businesses that are open," Polis stated. "And, of course, really make it a major effort to have social distancing where possible and staying six feet apart and just hanging out in smaller groups and trying to see less people."

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Gov. Jared Polis (credit: CBS)

Polis pointed out the recent spike in the number of cases among Boulder residents living in the University Hill neighborhood.

"In Boulder County, in the last week alone, over 100 cases. These are largely graduating students and CU students that weren't following the health guidelines," Polis said.

Polis said it's critical to prevent those 108 people from spreading the virus to hundreds or thousands of other Boulder residents.

Polis said it isn't just a health issue -- it's an economic one.

"If you care about the economic recovery of Colorado, please wear a mask whenever you can... for those who work in stores and restaurants and other public venues, and for customers."

Polis pointed out that, overall, the trend in Colorado is good right now.

"It's still going the right way, in terms of new cases, 12 of the last 14 days in a downward trend," Gov. Polis stated. "But you know we're seeing a lot of cause for concern in neighboring states... We're actually the only state in the Pacific or Mountain Timezone that seen a steady decline in cases."

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