Basalt ‘living in two worlds’ due to different mask rules in Pitkin and Eagle counties |

Basalt ‘living in two worlds’ due to different mask rules in Pitkin and Eagle counties

Town will wait and see before assessing need for its own mask mandate

A serviceman walks into The Basalt Store wearing a mask after Pitkin County reinstated indoor mask requirements leaving Basalt split between two counties and two mandates. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

For the second time during the COVID-19 pandemic, Basalt is in a situation where masks requirements are different depending on the county boundary.

Pitkin County enacted an indoor mask mandate on Thursday that affects a handful of businesses on the east and south sides of town.

Eagle County has no such restriction, so employees and customers of businesses on Midland Avenue, Willits Town Center and Orchard Plaza aren’t required to wear masks. That includes the busiest businesses of City Market and Whole Foods.

“We’ve been here before,” Town Manager Ryan Mahoney said.

He said Basalt government is in a wait-and-see mode over the next few weeks and won’t take any action on its own mask mandate. It’s to Basalt’s advantage that the weather is still nice enough that people are spending a lot of time outdoors, he noted.

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“If hospital occupancy stays in check, we’ll live in two worlds for a while,” he said.

Basalt was in the same situation in spring 2020 when Pitkin County implemented a mask mandate a couple of months before Eagle County did. At that time, the Basalt Town Council approved a mask requirement in early May. Eagle County adopted a mask mandate in early July.

Mahoney said Basalt town government won’t enforce Pitkin County’s mask mandate and will leave it to voluntary compliance. Basalt businesses located in Pitkin County appeared to take the mandate seriously. Roots Rx, for example, turned away customers who weren’t wearing a mask on Thursday.

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