Clear Creek has rescinded its public health order requiring masks in all indoor places open to the public, effective immediately. Masks are still required at local schools, however, as they fall under a separate public health order.

The county commissioners, acting as the board of health, unanimously voted on Feb. 3 to rescind the order, which has been in place since Dec. 7.

County staff had previously discussed leaving in place language that requires businesses to cooperate with contact-tracing efforts. However, on Feb. 3, staff clarified that this is already covered under a state mandate, and thus recommended the board of health rescind the county mask order in its entirety.

Other Denver-area counties’ mandates are ending this week, and Summit and Gilpin counties have already rescinded theirs.

Tim Ryan, Clear Creek County’s public health director, stated he would be more comfortable requiring masks for a bit longer, but also understood the need to align with neighboring counties and not burden businesses with enforcement anymore.

Ryan and the commissioners all recommended that people continue to wear masks in public, and Ryan said businesses should continue to have their employees wear masks at work to prevent spread among staff.

County Attorney Peter Lichtman clarified that masks will still be required in schools, which is a separate public health order. The commissioners asked to revisit it at their regular Feb. 15 meeting.

Two county residents spoke during public comment, saying they felt testing at the schools was ineffective because results take too long. They were also against students being required to wear masks, saying it should be optional.

“It seems weird to unmask the entire population, except for the healthiest population in the county,” Georgetown’s Justin Scott said.

They added that while the local school board makes its own decisions, it’s also greatly influenced by the county’s actions and recommendations.

The commissioners asked county staff to bring them a list of options on how to address the order requiring masks and testing at the schools, saying they’d like to have the option to vote on Feb. 15, depending on what they decide.

“We know that some other (school) districts are dropping their mandates right now, and we can learn from their experience,” Commissioner George Marlin said.