Breckenridge to hire security guards to enforce mask mandates during Spring Break

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BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — The Breckenridge Town Council is taking steps to protect frontline workers during spring break.

Council members plan to hire two security guards, to help enforce public health orders during the two-week spring break peak in mid-March.

Town Manager Rick Holman told council members on Tuesday that a lot of businesses are struggling, and that it has a little bit to do with the “attitude” of some people in town.

He explained that some visitors are giving frontline workers grief, when reminded about the mask requirement.

The ski town has instituted a mandatory mask zone in the downtown area.

A banner across Main Street states: “Love this place? Cover your face!”

Breckenridge Mask Sign

Main Street was hopping Saturday evening as tourists flocked downtown both to shop and dine out.

Most were wearing masks, some were not.

Wearing masks in downtown Breckenridge

“I’m from Texas,” said Leslie Foley, who had her mask in her hand.

“In Texas, you don’t necessarily have to wear one outside,” chimed Foley’s friend, Joanne Grigsby.

“Matter of fact, last week, (there was a) major snow storm (in Texas,) they didn’t even care if you had one,” Foley added.

Town officials said masks and social distancing have help slow down the spread of COVID-19 in Summit County.

“We’re trending really well right now,” Police Chief Jim Baird told Denver7. “We want to make sure we don’t lose the ground that we’ve gained.”

He said many spring-breakers are coming from areas with significantly fewer COVID-related restrictions.

The goal, he said, is to have security guards deal with mask issues, while police are busy with other things during spring break.

Baird added there has already been some mask-related friction.

“We do have occasions where people create conflict,” he said. “People who believe masks are helpful and those that don’t.”

Lacey Kirwan hasn’t seen any conflict in her store, Breck ‘N’ Boujee. She said customers wear masks in that store, which is the total opposite of her stores in South Dakota.

Shoppers at Breck 'N' Boujee.jpg

“Over there, you wear a mask and they look at you weird,” she said. “Here you don’t have a mask, you get yelled at.”

“From what we’ve seen, the majority of people are wearing masks,” said Kyle Hutchison, who is vacationing with his wife, Alison.

The Huchison’s, from Illinois, said they’re OK with security guards reminding people about the mask mandate.

“I feel fortunate enough that if I’m being asked to wear a mask, I get to go sit at a restaurant, or do a little shopping, like we are right now,” she said. “To me that’s totally worth it, and you’d hope that others would do the same.”

A half dozen, or so people were spotted sans masks Saturday evening. One snowboarder, walking down Main Street without a mask, said he didn’t have time to talk.

Baird said uniformed security guards will let visitors know about the mandates.

“The approach is educational,” he said. “People shouldn’t be harassing the waitress at a restaurant, or the high school kid working behind the counter at a t-shirt shop because they were asked to put on a mask.”

“We’re trying to take the onus off frontline workers,” Holman told the Town Council.