Feb 23, 2022 - News

Colorado governor ditches his mask, defying his own experts' guidance

Gov. Jared Polis poses for a photo at a campaign event in Aurora. Photo: John Frank/Axios
Gov. Jared Polis poses for a photo at a campaign event in Aurora. Photo: John Frank/Axios

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has returned to the campaign trail looking worry-free about the pandemic.

State of play: He is giving boisterous speeches, shaking hands and putting his arm around people for pictures β€” all without wearing a mask.

Why it matters: The Democrat's approach defies the recommendation of his own pandemic response leaders.

  • His COVID-19 response director Scott Bookman told Axios Denver on Thursday that the administration continues to recommend masks for indoor gatherings and crowded spaces to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Zoom in: Polis' campaign event in Aurora targeted voters in communities of color β€” the same Coloradans who are less likely to be vaccinated and more likely to get seriously ill.

What he's saying: The governor's office brushed aside concerns. "Governor Polis, like most Coloradans, is making personal risk assessments based off the setting he is in and the risk to him and his family," spokesperson Conor Cahill told Axios.

  • Cahill later clarified that the governor wears a mask when local rules require face coverings, but most have been lifted.

Between the lines: This is one of many examples where Polis has pushed to put the pandemic in the past and defied expert advice from his own administration.

  • He declared the pandemic emergency over last July, but nearly 5,000 people in Colorado have died from COVID-19 complications since then.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories

No stories could be found

Denverpostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more