A Colorado town is threatening residents with up to a year behind bars and large fines if they disobey face mask requirements implemented in response to the coronavirus.
The mayor of Englewood, Colorado, with the blessing of the City Council, imposed an emergency order that went into effect Thursday, mandating that every person over the age of 6 wear a mask outside his or her homes, according to the New York Post.
First offenders will face $15 fines, and second offenders will have to pay $25, but the maximum penalty listed is $2,650 and 360 days behind bars or both.
“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,” the order states.
Just over 35,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Colorado, resulting in 1,704 deaths in the state.
Cities and states across the country have started imposing mandatory face mask restrictions in response to upticks in coronavirus cases, and some are also calling on the federal government to impose a nationwide mask mandate.
Supporters of face masks, including guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maintain that wearing face coverings is instrumental in stopping the spread of the virus, while critics wary of government restrictions during the pandemic cite reputable studies that cloth masks aren’t effective.
“Wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection,” a group of Harvard public health experts wrote in a paper from the New England Journal of Medicine in early April. “Public health authorities define a significant exposure to COVID-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic COVID-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching COVID-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, urged people this week to wear face masks.
“If you say, ‘it doesn’t matter whether you put it on or take it off,’ you’re giving a wrong, mixed signal,” he said. “The message should be, ‘Wear a mask, period.'”
Author: Andrew Mark Miller
Source: Washington Examiner: Colorado town threatens residents with one year in jail if they defy mandatory face mask order