Headlines August 2, 2021

Headlines August 2, 2021

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State Extends Mask Requirement in Some Settings

People who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be required to continue wearing masks in medical facilities, homeless shelters, jails and prisons.

On Saturday, state health officials extended the statewide mask mandate. In a release, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said that the prevalence of the Delta variant together with the fact that many Coloradans are not fully vaccinated is threatening progress in the state.

Now the mask mandate, which was expected to expire in June, will be in effect until September 1, and could be extended again.

While the rule exempts children under 11 years old, state officials are recommending that everyone in school settings should wear masks, especially those who are not vaccinated.

Some School Districts across State Release Varying Policies on Masking

CDPHE officials released their latest policy update for schools on Friday evening. The state is permitting each school district in Colorado to set its own mask policy.

Chalkbeat reports that some districts around the state have already adopted a range of masking policies.

Jefferson County schools will require masks for children 11 and under and unvaccinated older students, teachers and staff will also have to wear them.

In Aurora schools, masks will be required for unvaccinated staff and strongly recommended for unvaccinated students.

In the Adams 12 Five Star district, all teachers and staff will be required to wear masks and are optional for students.

In Littleton, Douglas County and Mesa County’s District 51 masks will not be required for anyone.

While some districts have issued policies, many in the state have not yet done so including Denver, the largest in the state.

Boulder County health officials recently announced plans to provide guidance in early August to the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley school districts on masks and quarantine policies for the fall.

Governor Requires Testing for Unvaccinated State Employees

On Friday Governor Jared Polis said that state employees who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 will have to be tested twice a week for the virus and will also have to wear masks in the office.

In a statement, Polis called his decision a middle-of-the-road approach in an attempt to respect those on both sides of the vaccination debate. The Colorado Sun reports it also is in line with rules announced by President Joe Biden for federal employees.

The governor said he had heard from state employees who are terrified that unvaccinated co-workers will give them the virus, and they wanted vaccines to be required. He also heard from some who have hesitation in getting inoculated.

Those required to get tested will not have to pay for them. About 30,000 state workers are affected by the requirement, and it applies only to those in the executive branch, and not those who work for the courts in the judicial branch.

Polis added also encouraged all eligible residents including state employees to get vaccinated saying it is highly effective even against the delta variant.

Boulder Businesses May Require Proof of Vaccination

At least one business in Boulder is planning to ask patrons to show proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.

The Daily Camera reports that Dakota Soifer the owner and chef of Café Aion says it’s a chance for them to be proactive instead of reactive when the outdoor patio can no longer be used.

The head of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce told the Camera that it’s the first business in Boulder he has heard of that is planning this type of policy; however, there may be others.

The owner of Aion said all of his employees have been vaccinated and he will be working with staff to determine how the vaccine requirement will work.

Boulder Planning Board Votes against CU South Agreement

The Boulder Planning Board has voted not to recommend the approval of the CU South annexation agreement which was negotiated between the city and the University of Colorado Boulder.

If annexation of the more than 300-acre property near U.S. 36 and Table Mesa Drive into the city is approved, it will be the site of the South Boulder Creek flood mitigation project.

According to the Daily Camera, while not supporting the agreement, the board also forwarded recommendations to the City Council which it hopes will be considered when it assumes authority over the agreement tomorrow.

Those recommendations included more details about open space, development, water, natural resources.

Elyria Swansea Neighborhood Hit by Gas Shutoff 

About 700 residents of the Elyria Swansea neighborhood of north Denver have been without natural gas service for days. Xcel Energy had been working since the middle of last week to fix a gas line that was damaged.

KDVR reports that many of the people who live in the area said that they didn’t receive any type of notification from Xcel that the gas would be turned off.

As of late Saturday night, some people had their service turned back on but hundreds still hadn’t.

The area has been heavily impacted by the work on I-70; however, the Colorado Department of Transportation said in a statement that the gas problem was outside their area of work.

Xcel Energy provided food for residents from taco trucks and they were also told that Xcel would be setting up portable showers.

I-70 Closure 

CDOT hopes to open Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon today, but no definite date has been given. Crews worked since late last week to remove mud and debris. On Thursday night dozens of drivers were caught in the mud and had to be rescued. More rain is expected in the area this week which could lead to more mudslides.