By Shawn Chitnis

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Business and local health leaders said Wednesday they’re working to adjust to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending masks for fully vaccinated people when in public indoor settings. While state officials have yet to offer Colorado specific advisories on this issue, most counties qualify under the new guidelines.

“Removing them actually became a little nerve-wracking at first and a little uncomfortable at first, but then we kind of got used to that again,” said Jamie Hollier, one of the owners of Balefire Goods in Olde Town Arvada.

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While she and others have become accustomed to working maskless, she is ready to put them back on and encourage others to do the same. She will wait for guidance from the city and county she operates in, keeping masks available at the entrance of her store for now if anyone wants one.

“Whatever needs to be done to keep our staff safe, our community safe, we’re going to do,” Hollier told CBS4 on Wednesday.

Beyond masks, she keeps extra room in her store for social distancing, has a modern HVAC system, and leaves the door open as much as possible to keep the air circulating. Other businesses in Olde Town say they’re taking a similar approach regardless of whether masks return.

They do anticipate customers will be frustrated by another change in regulations.

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“Our customers are comfortable coming back to the Flying Pig Arvada no matter what mandate is out there,” Michael Adkins said. He works at Flying Pig Arvada and says they have maintained strict sanitizing policies so diners feel safe whether they wear masks or not.

Tri-County Health includes Adams County, which covers a part of Arvada, and it qualifies for the new CDC guidance to wear masks indoors because of a significant level of COVID-19 transmission. Leaders say regardless of the case count in one county, there needs to be an inclusive approach for the entire metro area because people constantly travel and commute from one to another.

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“We need to expect the unexpected,” said Dr. John Douglas, the Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department. “I still think most of us would still like to do what’s best for our communities.”

Douglas emphasized the vaccine remains the most important resource to stopping the spread of the virus. Given the Delta variant is making up most of their cases, and it is more infectious along with vaccine rates staying flat, he understands the need to bring masks back as another layer of protection. He says breakthrough infections for those who are vaccinated and a lower count of cases than the actual number of people who have COVID-19 all add to the decision made by the CDC.

“I just hope that everyone can have some kindness and generosity of spirit with the businesses and each other in this time because it’s hard for all of us,” Hollier said.

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Tri-County Health said it will wait for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to make an announcement on guidance for masks but Douglas does not expect a new mandate. He does advise anyone going into a public indoor settings to start using masks again immediately.

Shawn Chitnis