By Conor McCue

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Friday night marked the start of Boulder’s new mask guidelines. Now, regardless of vaccination status, everyone 2 years and older needs to wear one in all indoor public spaces.

As Delta variant cases surge around the county and state, familiar signs are back on the door at Boulder’s Outback Saloon. They read “masks must be worn at all times except when seated,” and “no entry without a mask,” and are more necessary than ever after new mask guidelines went into place.

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“I actually was shocked that it took this long,” said General Manager Matt Wolvington. “I expected it a couple weeks ago. I expected it around the time when students came back.”

Wolvington said he learned about the mask mandate late Thursday night while speaking with customers. It went into effect Friday evening, which was the night of the University of Colorado Boulder’s football home opener. It’s also typically the Outback Saloon’s busiest night of the week.

“Most people didn’t have a problem,” Wolvington said. “Some people were upset, but all and all it was more the shock of, ‘oh, we didn’t know.’”

Last year, Wolvington was among the first COVID cases in the county, and was later hospitalized for weeks after complications.

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All of his staff members are now vaccinated, but Boulder County Public Health is increasingly seeing breakthrough cases.

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“To take these steps instead of it getting to the point where we have to shut down, to me that’s a no brainer,” he said.

On Pearl Street Saturday, other businesses shared few issues with CBS4 regarding the new mandate. Much like at the Outback Saloon, some employees were finding themselves informing customers about the change for the first time.

“We kind of had an idea that masks might be required in some places, but we didn’t know it was an order that came out,” said Esteban Montaño of Fort Collins.

While Montaño and his friends were unaware of the new rule, they were able to grab masks from their car and continue their daytrip without issue.

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Many others like Doug Murray of Longmont made the trip with knowledge of the change, as well as masks.

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“Everyone’s wearing a mask, everyone is pretty much following the mandate pretty thorough compared to last year,” Murray said. “Last year was pretty 50-50.”

Conor McCue