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A Joint Letter to Governor Polis About Extending the Mask Order

Dear Governor Polis,

On behalf of the undersigned healthcare professionals and organizations, we urge you to maintain the existing Executive Order requiring masks in indoor public spaces. While there will be a time in the near future when masking can be eased, relaxing the mandate now would be premature and could undermine our progress against COVID-19. At this time, Colorado should continue this important public health measure.

  • Mask mandates have increased the use of masks. Indeed, such requirements have and continue to reduce cases and save lives. Particularly as the state is easing other restrictions such as those on indoor dining, masking remains among the most effective countermeasures to the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Easing mask requirements at the same time the state is reopening the economy could amount to an avoidable resurgence of the virus, as demonstrated by experience nationally. It could have a compounding effect on the spread at this time and is not worth the risk.
  • Variant spread is a headwind to our progress in ending the pandemic despite expanded – yet still limited – availability of vaccines. We know masks work against these variants, and we cannot afford to lose the ground we have gained or risk reduced vaccine efficacy from new variants that can arise from increased transmission.
  • Masking enables economic activity to reopen more safely. Unlike other restrictive measures that were necessary over the past year, masks do not impede workplaces from operating or individuals from participating in economic activity. Their use in public places protects those who are not yet vaccinated and there remains a compelling public interest in requiring them.

We know that mask mandates increase mask use. The mandate is an important public health communication tool, signaling to Coloradans that masking is both recommended and still necessary to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for your work to lead Colorado through this challenging time.

Colorado Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics, Colorado Chapter
Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants
Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials
Colorado Chapter of the American College of Physicians
Colorado Medical Society
Colorado Nurses Association