dennis anderson

Dennis Anderson is group publisher for Wick Communications, Alaska and Colorado. He can be reached via email at

I find myself asking that question after Gov. Jared Polis issued a mandatory mask mandate for the state of Colorado. While it appears it increased the use of masks in our area, it also appears that it's starting to relax already. 

Walmart, which issued its own mask mandate (and it was big news when that happened), also seems to be relaxing on the standards here locally. Yes, they are handing out masks as you enter, but once inside, fewer people are wearing them.

When all of the area sheriffs issued statements that they would not go out of their way to enforce the mask mandate, it sent a clear signal to everyone to proceed at your own risk. Businesses that aren't going to make masks mandatory have placed signs on their doors 'enter at your own risk, or something like that.

Listen, local law enforcement doesn't have time to enforce whether or not folks are wearing their masks in public. And it's a mixed bag on who is willing to wear them. I attended two Little League games in Grand Junction last week. More people were without masks than with. 

It may not be mandatory in outdoor settings, but when 30 people are crowded on small bleachers — well if masks work — then why not wear them? At this point, the governor should start his press conferences with "Hello Wall." That appears to be about all who are paying attention to what he has to say. 

It's the American way to decide whether or not one wants to follow government guidelines. And mask wearing is now a matter of political debate. 

Let's look at the positives of our new COVID normal. We are discovering that we can be entertained in our own backyard, literally and figuratively. Events like concerts in the park are nice, but so is taking a drive to the Grand Mesa or Uncompahgre and listening to your favorite playlists. 

We've spent more money on our homes this year than in past years — probably because of canceled travel for vacations. Our hardware stores and nurseries are seeing unbelievable revenue. 

That's good to see for our local economy. Although I enjoy watching pro baseball, I have to admit I didn't miss it in the early parts of summer. We've had more family get-togethers, more day trips on the weekends, and my container vegetable garden made of repurposed tractor tires has never received such attention. 

Maybe our new normal is that we support local business, appreciate what we have to explore in our surrounding area or even slow down enough to share more meals with our family.

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