Denver will let mask mandate expire this week

( NBC )

Denver will not extend its indoor mask mandate, which is set to expire on Thursday.

Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) Executive Director Bob McDonald made the announcement during an update on the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday.

"Beginning Friday, people will no longer be required under the public health order to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination for entry into a business in Denver," Hancock said.

Hancock cited a continued downward trend in COVID cases, hospitalizations and positivity rate when explaining why Denver made the decision to let the order expire.

The public health order requiring masks to be worn in schools and childcare facilities will remain until further notice.

"We simply feel it's important to keep our schools open and our children in class," Hancock said. "Being in that classroom is critical to their development, so we want to make sure they're able to do that as safely as possible."

Hancock and McDonald both said they hope to avoid any similar mask mandates in the future, but if COVID metrics reach concerning levels, another order could be put in place.

They also urged residents to respect businesses and other locations that continue to keep a mask or proof of vaccination requirement in place after the order expires.

"It has been an incredible hard two years for all of us," Hancock said. "We need a little less anger and petulance, and a little more understanding for folks towards one another. So please, let's be peaceful and understanding with each other as we make this transition."

> Watch the full update:

The City of Denver said on Friday that it would "likely" let its public health order expire this week.

"As we approach Feb. 3, we’re analyzing the data and it seems likely we will be able to let the public health order expire," the city said in a statement to 9NEWS. "We’re encouraged by the continued decline in case rates, positivity and hospitalizations in Denver and across the metro area. We’ll be talking with our regional partners over the weekend."

The Denver public health order went into effect in November and was previously set to expire Jan. 3, but the city extended the order due to "rising cases of COVID-19 and the emergence of the omicron variant in Colorado," according to a news release.

The Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) will also discuss ending their mask mandates during a special meeting on Monday at 4:30 p.m.

TCHD, which covers Adams and Arapahoe counties, also has mask mandates set to expire Friday. Those mandates cover schools, childcare facilities and indoor public spaces.

The health department said the mask requirement could end "soon after" Feb. 4.

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