Denver’s mask mandate will be allowed to expire this week, Mayor Michael Hancock announced during a news conference Monday. Mayor Hancock said Denver is at “a very important pivot point.”
The public health order requiring face coverings indoors, or proof of vaccination in lieu of face coverings, will expire at midnight on Thursday. It was initially implemented in November and extended in December.
“In this battle, we are in a much better position than other parts of the country to do this now, because throughout this pandemic, our residents have done what was necessary to slow the spread of COVID. They got vaccinated. They’re getting boosted. And they took the precautions seriously for two years,” Mayor Hancock states. “Thank you. Thank you, Denver, and thank you, metro Denver and all the state of Colorado.”
Bob McDonald, Executive Director of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, said officials decided to let the mask mandate expire because data shows it was effective in slowing the spread of the virus.
“If you look at the trajectory here, cases are dropping very, very quickly. It’s a same thing with positivity rate,” McDonald stated.
“But probably more important and what really drove the decision in terms of lifting the face covering order is what the modeling indicates,” McDonald stated. “…two months ago, it was very clear that the modeling indicated that if we did not do something to reduce transmission that hospital capacity would be breached in mid- to late December and that did not happen. That did not happen. So our face covering order was absolutely successful.”
“The other thing that the modeling clearly indicates is that lifting the face covering order today will have little to no effect on this trajectory here,” McDonald added. “Modeling makes it very clear that lifting the face covering order now is safe cases are going to continue to decline.”
McDonald says the data shows the Omicron variant has “run out of fuel within our community,” but warned residents need to remain vigilant.
“If you have not been vaccinated, please get vaccinated. If your immune compromised, you’re struggling with health issues, then continue to wear those face coverings, get vaccinated, give some thought as to whether or not you convene in large settings… where there might be others who are not vaccinated.”
Denver’s public health order expiration does not impact the federal requirement for face coverings on public transportation, including public transit networks, airplanes, buses, trains, taxis, Ubers and Lyfts. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) requires face coverings for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated staff, residents, and visitors in jails, homeless shelters, and emergency medical and other healthcare settings.
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