PROMO 64J1 Health - Mask Gloves - iStock - Yevhenil Orlov

Critical business workers required to wear facemasks

(c) iStock - Yevhenil Orlov
Derek Draplin | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced Friday that he’s signing an executive order to require workers at critical businesses like grocery stores to wear face masks.

The move is one of several he announced Friday to continue mitigating the spread of COVID-19, which has now reached 9,047 cases and 391 deaths in the state. 

Polis also said he’s requiring long-term care facilities to draft “isolation plans” to submit to state health officials, adding that he’s deploying the Colorado National Guard to help testing efforts at three large nursing homes. 

“With so many vulnerable individuals and also front-line caretakers that are in close contact, we really need even better planning and better protections to stop the spread of the virus in these facilities – particularly as the stay-at-home order and these severe restrictions in place roll off – we need to up our game in practice in all of the senior care facilities in our state,” Polis said. 

The executive order on masks will also require critical government workers and senior care facility workers to wear masks, although they do not have to be medical-grade, the governor said. 

“Hopefully you’ve been seeing it already at your grocery stores, but you are going to see that guarantee going forward,” Polis added. 

Earlier on Friday, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced independent contractors, gig economy workers and other self-employed workers can apply for unemployment benefits starting on Monday through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“They’re now eligible too,” Polis said during the briefing. “We’ve been waiting on the federal guidance on how to administer that.”

Workers who are eligible will receive $600 a week via the CARES Act in addition to weekly unemployment benefits.