Ryan Warner: We often ask listeners to submit questions and for the last few months, the majority have asked why you won’t impose a statewide mask mandate. We’ve recently seen a surge in cases and a shortage of hospital beds. Is there anything that would prompt you to return to a statewide order?

Gov. Jared Polis: Our top goal is always to follow the science, and there was a time when there was no vaccine, and masks were all we had and we needed to wear them. The truth is we now have highly effective vaccines that work far better than masks. If you wear a mask, it does decrease your risk of getting COVID, and that’s a good thing to do indoors around others, but if you get COVID and you are still unvaccinated, the case is just as bad as if you were not wearing a mask. Everybody had more than enough opportunity to get vaccinated. Hopefully it’s been at your pharmacy, your grocery store, a bus near you, [or at] big events. At this point, if you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s really your own darn fault.

Warner: It has been about a year since the first doses of vaccine arrived in Colorado. You see the arrival of the vaccine as the end of mask mandates statewide. That’s your position?

Gov. Polis: We see it as the end of the medical emergency. Frankly, people who want to be protected [have gotten vaccinated]. Those who get sick, it’s almost entirely their own darn fault. I don’t want to say that nobody [will get the virus if they’re] vaccinated, but it’s very rare. Just to put it in perspective, of the about 1400 people hospitalized, less than 200 (or 16 percent) are vaccinated. And many of them are older or have other conditions. Eighty-four percent of the people in our hospitals are unvaccinated, and they absolutely had every chance to get vaccinated.

We’re talking, as you indicated, a year since the vaccines [became available]; everybody has had the chance to get vaccinated. And at this point, I think it’s almost like they made a deliberate decision not to get vaccinated. I still encourage everybody who hasn’t been vaccinated to get protected. And for those who are, make sure to get that booster after six months. The data shows it’s important and very likely even more so with this omicron variant.

This is from Michelle P. Fulcher, “Interview: Gov. Polis leaves mask mandates to local officials, says the state shouldn’t ‘tell people what to wear’CPR News, December 10, 2021.

I remember in the late spring of 2020 when Democratic Governor Polis opened up Colorado to about the extent Republican Governor Brian Kemp opened up Georgia. The media attacked Kemp but hardly said a critical word about Polis.

The whole interview is worth reading.