Summit County, town governments plan to require masks and physical distancing even for those who have been vaccinated
If an individual is vaccinated, how should COVID-19 protocols, including masking, affect them? That question was posed to Breckenridge Town Council members at a meeting Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula said he and other mayors and managers in the county also discussed that scenario at a meeting Thursday, Jan. 7, with the mayor calling the situation “a headache.”
“The science is saying, vaccine or no, you still need to wear a mask because you can still be carrying and can still be shedding the virus,” Mamula said about what was discussed at the meeting last week.
At Tuesday’s Summit County Board of Health meeting, Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said the county’s current recommendation is that those who have received the vaccine should continue to practice physical distancing and mask-wearing, along with all other protocols in the public health order.
“We don’t know if, when you have the vaccine, you can still contract a mild virus,” Wineland said. “But, certainly, you’re still able to spread the virus to others.”
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Mamula said requiring masks for those who are vaccinated will be a “difficult discussion” officials will have to make.
“They come to town and say, ‘I don’t need a damn mask. I’ve got a vaccine. Here’s my card,’” Mamula said hypothetically about visitors having cards that allege to show proof of vaccination. “… So you will get fake vaccination cards, I think — honestly — through this whole thing.”
The mayor then said he believes the best thing the town can do is “stay the course” with its current regulations.
“For now … I don’t see any reason for us to have any discussion about removing our mask ordinances or the things that we’ve been doing that have made us — honestly — pretty successful,” Mamula said, referring to Summit County’s low death rate.
Council member Erin Gigliello expressed caution about giving those with a vaccine “special treatment.”
“I don’t want our society or community to turn into a vaccine class-type place,” she said.
Now that the vaccine is out, Breckenridge Town Manager Rick Holman said the town would need to plan for additional marketing and messaging on the topic of masks “because there is a lot of false information out there relative to this.” He said the town will apply to use Colorado Department of Transportation grant funding for two more portable messaging signs.
“I don’t think we can have enough of those to put around to help with messaging — certainly with the mask messaging that we do right now,” Holman said.
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