Health

‘The Emergency Is Over’: Democratic Gov. Jared Polis Explains Why He Won’t Bring Back Mask Mandates

(Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Friday he won’t bring mask mandates back to his state because the COVID-19 “emergency is over.”

The governor said he prefers encouraging vaccination to mandating masks in an interview with Colorado Matters. He also said it’s not the job of public health officials to tell Coloradans to wear masks, even if it may be a good idea.

“The emergency is over. You know, public health [officials] don’t get to tell people what to wear; that’s just not their job,” Polis said. “Public health [officials] would say to always wear a mask because it decreases flu and decreases [other airborne illnesses]. But that’s not something that you require; you don’t tell people what to wear.”

Colorado is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 deaths in recent weeks, although hospitalizations and cases are slightly declining, according to data from The New York Times. Polis pointed out that the vast majority of people who are hospitalized and dying are unvaccinated, and people have had plenty of time by now to decide if they want to get the shots or not.

“Everybody had more than enough opportunity to get vaccinated. Hopefully it’s been at your pharmacy, your grocery store, a bus near you, [or at] big events. At this point, if you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s really your own darn fault,” Polis said. “Frankly, people who want to be protected [have gotten vaccinated]. Those who get sick, it’s almost entirely their own darn fault.” (RELATED: All Known Cases Of Omicron Have Been Asymptomatic Or Mild, European CDC Says)

“We’re talking, as you indicated, a year since the vaccines [became available]; everybody has had the chance to get vaccinated. And at this point, I think it’s almost like they made a deliberate decision not to get vaccinated,” he continued. “I still encourage everybody who hasn’t been vaccinated to get protected. And for those who are, make sure to get that booster after six months. The data shows it’s important and very likely even more so with this omicron variant.”