Colorado city: One year in jail or $2,600 fine for violating mask order
A Colorado city has passed an ordinance requiring anyone over the age of five years old to wear a face mask outside the home, with a maximum penalty of $2,600 or a year in jail.
“This week, Englewood City Council voted to direct the city manager to issue an emergency order mandating mask-wearing for all residents inside businesses, government offices and public transit. It goes into effect tomorrow,” says Denver 7 News.
The city of Englewood, CO passed the order under provisions from the county health department ordering masks; however, it’s unclear by what mechanism the city can enforce the order.
Colorado’s Gov. Jared Polis (D) has refused to issue a statewide mask mandate and instead has allowed county health agencies to implement measures that they feel appropriate for their respective areas.
“Requiring face coverings is intended to preserve the health and well-being of Englewood citizens, as well as to stem the spread of the virus and prevent the economic harms to the City’s business community associated with more extreme measures to control the spread of COVID-19, such as State mandated business shut-down orders,” says a statement by the city, according to Local 9 News.
The number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases has gone up recently in Colorado, but statewide, the number remains under 500 cases per day. According to the state’s own website, the percentage of tests giving a positive result is four percent or less. By contrast, Florida is reporting an over-16 percent positive COVID test rate currently.
Masks seem to be the latest solution for governments struggling to figure how to combat the virus — short of shutting down the economy. The death rate from coronavirus is still very low, indicating that measures to protect the most vulnerable are more effective than they had been previously.
The city’s own tweet about the order feature universally hostile comments from the public, calling the order “unlawful” and a “joke.”
One user, Jeannie Prather, says: “That’s 100% illegal and no one should abide by this overreach of government control.”
The issue of masks has become a lighting-rod for political opinion attracting the left and repelling the right.
The problem, says one expert, is that scientists are trying to project certainty on a very uncertain virus and the public is “so remarkably informed” about the issues today.
“It’s actually not helpful for scientists to hide behind a curtain of certainty. There is uncertainty about masks. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be wearing them,” says David Kriebel, ScD, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
It’s even less helpful when governments use the certainty scientists project to make public policy that puts people in jail.
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