Denver’s mask mandate will remain in place at least until early May, regardless of what the state of Colorado does, Mayor Michael Hancock said Thursday.

After the beginning of May, Denver will “check from month to month when and where masks are still needed”.

COVID-19 cases and positivity rates in Denver are slowly rising, Hancock said, describing the city’s state as a plateau “at a stubbornly high rate” at best. He encouraged Denver residents to seek a vaccine – all Coloradans will be eligible starting Friday – and said the city and its partners across the area must work together to slowly and safely move away from mask mandates and restrictions on large groups.

Hancock’s announcement comes as COVID-19 cases across the state have been relatively stable over the past month and the overall number of outbreaks has decreased (although that number has increased in the state’s prisons).

With that stability comes relaxed restrictions: The Colorado Health Department has removed most of the public health restrictions for 26 of the state’s less populated counties. While there are even stricter restrictions in Denver, Adams, Boulder, Douglas, and El Paso counties, restaurants and gyms in 5-star certified areas can be 100% occupied as long as a social distance of 6 feet can be maintained.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in several other states in the country, said Denver public health director Bob McDonald, and local vaccination rates “are barely keeping up with new cases.”

“We’re not out, we don’t want Colorado, and certainly not Denver, for the numbers to peak again,” said McDonald.

The warm weather could offer a little break from the virus, which is better in the cold, McDonald said.

State officials have not yet changed the nationwide mask mandate, which expires on Saturday. Beginning last week, officials were reviewing public contributions to a plan aimed at removing nearly all face coverage requirements in the top performing counties.