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Larimer County reinstates mask mandate as ICU beds reach capacity

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Larimer County reinstated a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

This is in response to local ICU beds reaching capacity. According to officials, ICUs in Larimer County have been full for the last four weeks.

“Larimer County hospitals are being overburdened and we cannot allow this to continue indefinitely," said Tom Gonzales, the Larimer County public health director in a statement to 9News. "Our hospitals need relief so they can swiftly and adequately treat all urgent medical needs in our community."

The mask mandate goes into effect Wednesday. Similar to past mandates, people are told to wear masks except for when they're eating or drinking.

Our Denver affiliate spoke to Larimer County businesses preparing for the mandate.

 "I mean, it's unfortunate that we have to go through this again, but we will follow the rules as we did the last time around," said Kevin Gearhardt, co-owner of Maxline Brewing in Fort Collins.

He told 9News laminated mask requirement signs will be posted on their three main entrances and at their two serving stations. Gearhardt says he's hopeful customers will still come in, but he's nervous about how it could impact businesses.

"I am concerned about the impact to the revenue," he said. "And so that is a concern as to how it's going to impact our business and every other business in town because people have been used to not having to wear a mask for seven months plus now. And while we do see some people already wearing masks for the last few weeks, even a month or two months, the majority of people do not. So I guess we're just going to have to take a wait and see attitude to see how it impacts our customer base."

A UCHealth representative told 9News in a statement that their hospitals are experiencing very high census rates and are caring for a near-record number of patients. Now, hospitals are postponing any non-urgent and non-emergency surgeries to ensure they have available beds.



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