Denver renews mask mandate as COVID-19 cases surge in Colorado

November 23, 2021, 9:24 PM UTC

Denver is renewing a COVID-19 mask mandate, requiring face coverings for businesses and other indoor public spaces until Jan. 3 unless venues check vaccine cards at the door, Mayor Michael Hancock said Tuesday.

The order takes effect Wednesday. Neighboring counties have taken similar steps. A recent surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations across Colorado puts the health care system at risk, Hancock said at a news conference.

Denver’s hospitals are at 95% of capacity due to the number of virus cases, said Robin Wittenstein, CEO of Denver Health. “The health care system is on the brink of collapse,” she said.

An estimated 76% of Denver residents have received at least one vaccine dose, data the mayor called “stellar.”

At a separate news conference Tuesday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said a statewide mask mandate is “not something we’re considering,” leaving the decision to local authorities within the “social license they represent.”

The governor also said Colorado is on track to add 500 hospital beds, for both acute care and step-down care, by mid-December to ease the strain on the health care system. More than 80% of Coloradans have received at least one vaccine dose, Polis said.

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