Colorado city to mandate coronavirus face coverings, threatening up to a year in jail for violators

City issues emergency order as coronavirus cases are on the rise

The city of Englewood, Colo. located just south of Denver, will require all citizens to wear face masks Friday as coronavirus cases are on the rise. Violators will have the right to a trial but could face up to a year in prison or a $2,600 fine.

The emergency order was issued by City Manager J. Shawn Lewis and approved by the city council Monday, detailing that everyone over the age of 6-years old will be required to wear a mask when outside of their homes.

The order directs all members of the public to wear face masks that cover both their nose and mouth while in any retail, commercial, or government offices along with all health care facilities, including veterinary offices.

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All people taking public transportation are required to wear face masks. Drivers of public transportation services, like Uber and taxi services are required to wear a face mask unless members of their family are in the vehicle.

Face coverings are not required when in a personal office and individuals are more than six feet apart from one another.

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The city’s police department has been authorized to ticket first offenders with a $15 fine. The second offense will be an additional $25 fine.

The order also notes that “Any person charged with an offense under this Emergency Order may choose to enter a plea of not guilty and be entitled to a trial as authorized by the law.”

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The maximum penalty someone can receive for not abiding by the mask order is a fine that cannot exceed $2,650 and up to 360 days in prison.

The order follows recent increases in coronavirus cases in the state of Colorado, which has reported more than 35,000 cases and just over 1,700 deaths. Denver has the highest infection rate in the state with over 7,500 confirmed cases, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.

The emergency order will go into effect July 10 at 8 a.m.

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