WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Nearly 40 Denver metro area mayors, who represent more than 50% of Colorado’s entire population, cosigned a letter to Gov. Jared Polis asking for more uniform enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions. In a letter obtained by CBS4, the Metro Mayors Caucus asked Polis to consider using state powers to reprimand those blatantly violating health orders.
Marc Williams, Mayor of Arvada and Chair of the caucus, said the metro area mayors specifically take issue with Weld County’s public refusal to enforce Level Red restrictions while most other heavily populated counties are doing so.
“There was fair amount of frustration expressed specifically with the situation in Weld County where they have decided not to enforce the Level Red requirements, and the impact that has on all of us,” Williams told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “Our restaurants, our businesses and our local communities are playing by the rules. And, yet, they are looking across the county line there saying if they can do what they want, why can’t we?”
In the letter to Polis, the caucus encouraged him to consider the health risks those traveling between counties are raising. With Weld County only miles away from some of the cities involved in the letter, Williams said some mayors have residents who feel there is a double standard simply based off geography.
“Mayors sort of have the bully pulpit,” Williams said. “We think there needs to be some uniformity there.”
Williams, and his fellow caucus members, encouraged the state to consider using their powers to revoke the liquor licenses of companies which ignore state-mandated health guidelines during the pandemic. While the leadership in Weld County may not enforce the health orders themselves, the state does have avenues to do so.
While Williams would like the governor to take more action, he applauded Polis for coming to the table and listening to the concerns of elected officials at more local levels.
“I think the governor is trying to be very cognizant of local control, and realizing the state of Colorado is very different in other areas. Certainly what goes on in very rural areas may need different treatment than in other cosmopolitan areas,” Williams said.
The caucus is scheduled to meet with Polis, who recently tested positive for coronavirus, via Zoom on Thursday. They also hope to discuss the possibility of cities and counties receiving earlier notice when it comes to a new level of restrictions. In doing so, Williams said cities can better prepare local businesses for the possible impacts.
While most of the mayors included in the caucus typically advocate for less oversight from the state, Williams said for the pandemic they all agree they need to unify Colorado in the effort to stop the spread.
“Because of the pandemic and the seriousness of it, we are willing to give up some of our local control to have uniform standards that are fair to everybody so there is a level playing field,” Williams said.