A veil of wintry weather threatens to tie up car traffic, which is nothing new for Denver. Thousands of motorists have already driven in this area since late November to avoid the first mass of air pollution usually produced by the switchover of clocks for the week.
Denver? Yeah, same old same old. But this year’s previous warm spell is not the only thing to keep you from getting to home in time. Ride-hailing fleets, bicyclists and walkers are all reporting crowds as tens of thousands in the metro area evacuate the metropolitan area before the first accumulation of snow arrives. At this point, winter is already the main coat-sleeved Denver resident who gets to stay out as long as she pleases.
On Tuesday, the local government handwringing over how to stay safe while staying warm continued when three of the 10 metro Denver counties enacted policies to mandate that people don’t wear masks as their personal anti-pollution protection.
Those counties were Broomfield, Weld and Pueblo, after voters approved those measures in November. Though a third, Adams County, went the other way. Not much will change there, as Adams County already banned face masks by ordinance, so to speak.
The decisions follow similar tightening of mask policies by the city of Denver, which successfully lobbied Colorado officials for them to pass a statewide mandate that requires the same.
In Denver, leaders said they want people to wear masks when going outside as “public health issues are always at the forefront of my thinking”. They added that public health and safety concerns are an important part of the decision-making process, even when people “aren’t all that concerned with defying the law”.
The four counties in Colorado have a history of wearing masks without any enforcement. Council member Robin Kniech, for example, was recorded wearing a rain coat over a mask last year when she met with a group in a Denver high school about issues related to pollution. “I think this was a great idea,” she said at the time.
Those who chose to refrain from wearing masks will not need to and will not need to speak to anyone to obtain them. County law says they can be worn at a public event in a “public event zone”, which include many of the biggest events in the metro area.