Granby wants more time to decide on face mask requirement
The Granby Board of Trustees will decide next week if they want to implement a face mask mandate following discussions on Tuesday.
The town board heard comments from the public overwhelmingly against a requirement, while receiving emailed comments both for and against it. The discussion was prompted by the actions of Winter Park, Fraser and Grand Lake, which have all enacted face mask mandates in public places.
Of the seven citizens who spoke against a face mask requirement in Granby, most pointed to medical issues that prevent people from wearing masks, the tourist appeal of a community without a mandate and the importance of individual rights.
“Those who are in favor of a mask mandate haven’t truly thought about their own rights and freedoms being chipped away slowly by our government,” Granby resident Amanda Rosenfried said.
Jason Stigers, a plumber in Granby, explained the choices he makes to stay healthy as an essential worker, which included not wearing a mask, staying home when he feels sick and washing his hands after interactions. While he does have a health issue, he and all Americans have a right to choose, he said.
“I choose not to live my life in fear, No. 1,” Stigers explained. “No. 2, I can’t wear a mask because my body cannot handle the CO2 being breathed back in. I have to sleep at night with oxygen. Again, health situations that I don’t have to disclose to anybody … We should have the right to choose that as Americans.”
Trustee Cathy Tindle spoke against a face mask requirement in part because Grand County government does not have one, which she said would make a town mandate confusing. She said that tourists would probably not listen anyway, and she described such a requirement as overreach.
“I don’t think it’s the part of a government to tell somebody you have got to wear a mask,” Tindle said to a round of applause.
Granby resident Chris Michalowski spoke at the beginning of the meeting in favor of a mask requirement, pointing to the fact that the town and county must stay healthy to get schools to reopen and that masks have been shown to reduce transmission.
“Wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic is basic manners,” he said. “Unfortunately, as we all know, some people don’t have basic manners.”
The town also received emails from representatives of businesses including Country Ace Hardware and Allegiant Management in favor of a mandate.
As for enforcement, Stg. Stark spoke on behalf of the Granby Police Department about how officers have been responding to private business complaints when someone refuses to wear a mask. He explained that officers want to engage in community policing whenever possible, rather than just issuing tickets.
“For our end of it, we would encourage the town to strongly encourage (mask wearing) … not go through and do a flat out blanket assessment,” Stark said. “But if that is the way the town goes, we will support that. Our end of enforcement would be the same as many other things … educating, encouraging, empathizing and trying to resolve the issues through those means.”
The trustees agreed that the public comments warranted further discussion with more notice given to the community. A special meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
In other business:
• Sgt. Stark outlined some of the effects the Law Enforcement Integrity and Accountability Act will have on the police department. He said Granby officers already practice many of the principles outlined in the law, including wearing body cameras.
However, the police department will need to update some of their older cameras and increase their video storage capacity to be in compliance by 2023. The bill did not provide any sort of funding for the mandate, meaning the town will have to invest in these changes if no funding mechanism is provided by the state.
The town attorney added that the bill changes a few things related to the town’s liability, but said that the issues would mostly affect “bad cops.” He expressed his confidence that Granby’s police department was in a good position in that regard.
• The board decided to keep former Trustee Becky Johnson’s position vacant until the November election following her resignation July 1. Trustees have the option to appoint someone to the position, but decided that the time period would be too short to justify bringing someone new on board.
The town attorney also explained that Mayor Paul Chavoustie, who is moving outside of town limits, does have precedent to remain in his position until the end of his term. The mayor has not submitted his resignation and does not automatically lose his position, though the town board could choose to vote him out. The trustees made no decision Tuesday.
• The trustees approved a sub award agreement with Trout Unlimited for a diversion improvement project; approved a memorandum of understanding with the Granby Chamber of Commerce; and approved an asphalt bid with Acord Asphalt, which will be negotiated to stay on budget.
• The town board chose to move forward with some improvements requested by Granby Dental on town owned land near 1 West Agate, including adding a sidewalk.
• The board appointed David Gantt Jr. to the Public Arts Committee and appointed Trustee Natascha O’Flaherty to an advisory committee for the town’s comprehensive plan.
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