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Colorado Governor Jared Polis holds up a face mask to make a point during a news conference to update the status of the state’s efforts against the coronavirus Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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Governor Polis Announces End to Most Mask Mandates in Colorado

The new rules follow guidelines released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say it is safe for fully vaccinated people to no longer wear masks in almost all indoor and outdoor settings.

Governor Jared Polis announced Friday that Coloradans who have been fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks in most settings. People who have not been inoculated, however, are still encouraged to wear face coverings in public.

“We are going from mask-wearing requirements to mask-wearing suggestions and guidance,” Polis said. “This is certainly a big step. We’ve reached a level of immunization where the pandemic isn’t over, but we are safer.”

Face coverings will still be required at events with more than 500 people in attendance. They will also still need to be worn in most schools, childcare and assisted-living facilities, health care settings, and prisons.

Polis’ decision to roll back restrictions came just a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines that said fully vaccinated individuals can safely go without masks in most public spaces, including indoors.

The governor first issued a statewide mask mandate, which required Coloradans ages 10 and older to wear face coverings in public indoor settings, in July 2020. The most recent restrictions from the state, released May 2, said that businesses could allow visitors to go maskless if more than 80 percent of the people inside were able to show proof of vaccination. Under the new rules issued Friday, Centennial State businesses will still have the option of requiring patrons to wear masks or show proof of vaccination in order to go maskless.

Currently, Colorado’s daily average of 24 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people is among the highest in the nation. Just above 40 percent of the state’s population is fully immunized, and nearly 50 percent of people have received at least one shot.

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