Gov. Polis Emphasizes the Importance of Wearing Masks, Announces Can Do Colorado Community Challenge

Thursday, June 11, 2020

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19, where he emphasized reasons why Coloradans should continue wearing masks and also announced the Can Do Colorado Community Challenge. 

“In order for Coloradans to enjoy more of the Colorado we all love, we have to continue wearing masks whenever we leave the house. When we pair social distancing with wide-spread mask-wearing, we put ourselves in a position for success,” said Governor Polis. “This isn’t just about protecting ourselves, it’s about protecting those around us and containing the virus in our communities. I’m proud of the way many businesses are stepping up and getting creative in serving their customers in as safe a manner as possible, it’s a great example of the Colorado spirit. We need more of that innovation and are encouraging more businesses to look at how they can operate in a way that prioritizes the safety of staff and customers.”

Gov. Polis today announced the Can Do Colorado Community Challenge, an extension of Can Do Colorado which spotlights and supports innovative businesses that are finding creative ways to continue serving their customers safely, implementing teleworking, and reducing in-person interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Can Do Colorado Community Challenge calls on local governments and businesses to continue finding safe and sustainable opportunities to jumpstart the local economy and implement these practices until a cure or vaccine is created. The state wants to continue to champion things like teleworking whenever possible; equity for essential workers; and helping communities provide safe spaces for all to walk, bike, dine, and conduct business.

Various departments and organizations throughout state government are offering a wide array of resources, including grant funding and expert technical assistance to help reopen the economy safely while making progress towards important health goals. 

Partnering departments and organizations include the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Affairs, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado Energy Office, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Regional Air Quality Council, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments. To learn more about the Challenge and how each agency is supporting, read the fact sheet

The State of Colorado wants to hear first-hand stories about how the behavioral health system is impacting young Coloradans. Coloradans ages 12-26, will have the chance to fill out a survey detailing their mental health experiences. The survey will close on June 22. Given the well-documented uptick in mental and behavioral health issues among young people, it’s more critical than ever to have folks share their stories. In 2019, Gov. Polis directed the Colorado Department of Human Services to spearhead Colorado’s Behavioral Health Task Force to improve Colorado's behavioral health system. Fill out the survey here or at    

Gov. Polis also reminded Coloradans to fill out their Census form, whether it’s the one that came through the mail or filled out online. The Census is critical to getting an accurate count of how many people live in the U.S., for determining Colorado’s representation in Congress, and funding from the federal government that every Coloradan benefits from.

Governor Polis highlighted the story of an employee at the Colorado Department of Transportation who contracted COVID-19 and spent 34 harrowing days in the hospital before being able to return home. Mike Clark was in a coma for two weeks, and after waking up he needed physical therapy to swallow and walk again. Mike said, “If there is anything that should prompt you to wear a mask at work, it is the thought of lying in bed, in a hospital, atop a bed pan.” The Governor reiterated Mike’s message reminding all Coloradans to take the simple steps of wearing masks and following social distancing requirements to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. 

View the Governor’s news conference