Breckenridge designates mandatory mask zone, creates penalty for health order violations and is set to impose a curfew

Breckenridge Town Council passed two emergency ordinances and agreed on an order from the town manager's office, all of which are part of an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Courtesy Elaine Collins

BRECKENRIDGE — Breckenridge Town Council on Thursday unanimously passed an emergency ordinance to establish a mandatory mask zone in the core of town. Council also unanimously passed a second emergency ordinance to create a process for penalizing businesses that violate the public health order. Both ordinances took effect immediately. An order from the town manager’s office to impose an 11 p.m. curfew on drinking and dining establishments also was agreed upon.

The first ordinance requires facial coverings to be worn in public at all times, including when outdoors, in a specified area. The previous rule only required masks outdoors when a 6-foot distance could not be maintained.

The boundary for mandatory masks generally extends from the Blue River on the west to Ridge Street on the east with the north boundary at North French Street. The southern boundary extends past the southern end of Main Street, including the gondola base area. The boundary includes the Riverwalk Center lawn and the Tiger Dredge parking lot. 

Masks must be worn in all public spaces, including outdoors, in the highlighted area above.
Courtesy town of Breckenridge

“While people are in an outdoor public place located within this mandatory mask zone, they are required to have a mask on,” Town Manager Rick Holman said. “It is no longer discretionary if they’re only within 6 feet.”

Outside the mandatory mask zone, Holman said, masks must be worn outdoors only when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Of course, a mask is not required while eating or drinking, and performers do not have to wear a mask if they are 25 feet from spectators, Holman said. 

Violators can be fined $50 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third and subsequent offense. Mayor Eric Mamula noted that someone would have to “really be a nuisance to get a fine.” He said the town is looking at an ambassador program that would focus initially on education. 

“I don’t think there’s any doubt right now in the country — with what’s going on immediately around us, in the states immediately around us — we’re in the middle of a firestorm of the virus right now, and this is an action that this Town Council can take to potentially stem the tide in our community to keep our businesses open,” Mamula said. “That’s what this is all about.”

As for enforcement, Holman said community service officers would be reassigned immediately to help enforce the mandatory mask zone and that additional staff members could be implemented later. Holman said signage alerting people about the mandatory mask zone was expected to be up by the end of the day Thursday.

The second ordinance authorizes the suspension or revocation of Breckenridge business and occupational tax licenses for violation of the Summit County public health order. If a hearing determines that there is cause for sanctions, a license can be suspended for 30 days, and the establishment will be fined $2,650. 

Council member Erin Gigliello said she is not concerned with business compliance but advocated for a curfew. Council discussed a restaurant and bar closure time, which Holman said has been proposed as a countywide measure. Council member Kelly Owens said she would prefer Breckenridge to take the lead on this concept as it could take time for a countywide rule to take effect. 

Gigliello was concerned that issues could arise if Breckenridge has a curfew but the rest of the county does not. The majority of council members agreed to an 11 p.m. curfew, which will be set by order from the town manager’s office. Holman said he expects the order to take effect Thursday night and that it would apply to all businesses that serve alcoholic beverages or food.

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