Masks, and the Public Health Order (PHO) requiring people over the age of 3 to wear them in Jeffco’s public spaces, have residents and businesses on each side of the issue voicing their opinion and taking a stand on whether they will comply.
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Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) Order 21-006, enacted Nov. 24, has some people crying foul.
Jansen Tidmore, President and CEO of Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), said his organization is against the order as written, believing a mandate places undue burdens on businesses.
In a letter to the health department, Tidmore said the EDC appreciates the important mission of the Board of Health, but has many items of concern regarding PHO 21-006. The EDC, Tidmore said, thinks JCPH Orders are being made in response to State PHO 20-38, which “strongly encourages,” but doesn’t mandate face coverings.
Tidmore added that the EDC wants JCPH to “mimic” the state order and change the county’s mask “mandate” to “strongly encourage” indoor mask use.
Additionally, the EDC letter recommends that any orders put in place by JCPH be contingent on other metro communities passing the same or similar orders.
“At a minimum that includes the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, and Denver,” Tidmore’s letter states. “We would like to see it extended, but understand the challenge to Douglas, Clear Creek, Gilpin, El Paso, and Weld – based on the inbound / outbound populations from those counties to ours.”
In his letter to JCPH, Tidmore said the EDC could support an order that “strongly encourages” masks for all indoor settings and would support an “opt in” program for businesses to go mask free but require patrons to be vaccinated.
In a statement to the newspaper, JCPH Executive Director, Dr. Dawn Comstock, said most businesses in Jeffco have stepped up throughout the pandemic, and again following the announcement of Public Health Order 21-006.
“JCPH is proud to share that we’ve had far fewer complaints against businesses than we have had businesses that are interested in being a Fully Vaccinated Facility,” she said. “In fact, the inquiries from businesses that are excited about doing the right thing for our community outnumber the citizen complaints about businesses 3-to-1.”
Comstock said residents in Jeffco are taking a recent increase in cases of COVID-19 seriously and want to hold one another and the businesses they patronize accountable to ensure all in Jeffco are as safe as possible during this resurgence of COVID-19 and the stress on our hospital systems.
“Now, as we work toward launching in earnest the Fully Vaccinated Facility program, it will be vital to lift up the voices of those who are following every mitigation strategy possible to help keep our community safe, rather than spotlighting the few facilities in our community that may need more help to get there,” Comstock said. “JCPH is here to support those few businesses with education and other tools to help them fully adhere to the PHO.”
JCPH continues to call on Jeffco residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine (or booster if you’re eligible), and to wear a mask in all public indoor spaces.
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