Colorado Governor Says Business Owners Can Report People Not Wearing Masks to Police

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced that people who violate the state’s mask requirement may face criminal prosecution.

Polis issued an executive order on Thursday requiring all residents over 10 to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when entering or moving within any Public Indoor Space."

The order added that "an individual who endangers the health of others by knowingly entering or remaining in a Public Indoor Space" may "be subject to civil or criminal penalties."

"Look, in Colorado, there's no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service," he said at a news conference.

Business owners can report patrons:

Polis told NBC News that business owners can report violators of the policy to police for trespassing.

Polis was joined by Democratic and Republican mayors at his announcement.

“Yes, I get that some people will say that this is a hardship, but let me tell you this. I meet with small businesses every day that haven’t been able to open up, and if things get worse, will have their businesses shuttered again. That’s a hardship,” said Republican Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman.

Some sheriffs refuse to enforce:

Hours after the announcement, some Republican sheriffs announced they will not enforce the policy.

“These are trying times in many aspects for law enforcement. We cannot afford to take actions that further erode the public trust in us,” the El Paso County sheriff’s office said. “As such, the official position of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office is to continue to educate the public on the benefits of wearing face coverings in enclosed public places. We will stress that wearing a mask will slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. We will not, however, be expending resources of the [sheriff's office] on issuing citations to individuals not wearing masks.”

The Weld County Board of Commissioners also announced its health department won’t enforce the order.

“In Weld County, we believe in the individual responsibility of citizens to determine how best to protect themselves, their family, their business and their consumers,” Weld County Chair Mike Freeman said. “Where the governor wants to force everyone to wear a mask, we believe in our citizens’ individual right to make that determination.


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