Those with compromised immune systems need special museum hours, advocate tells council

David Heitz
Photo byAnastasiia Chepinska/Unsplash

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) An advocate for people with compromised immune systems asked the City Council Monday to consider having special “masked hours” at local museums.

People with compromised immune systems take additional precautions during public gatherings such as wearing a mask. Mask restrictions have ended at most public places. Susanna Speier told the council special accommodations are needed for the immunocompromised.

She said even “masked mornings” once a month would be a start toward making museum-going safter for the immunocompromised. She said a museum in Seattle does it.

The City Council does not respond to remarks made during public comment session in order to maximize speaker time.

Museum official responsive to idea

Speier said she reached out to Denver Art Museum and heard back from Kristy Bassuener. She said Bassuener explained the museum does not currently have any mask restrictions but seemed open to the idea.

Speier said in her blog she is immunocompromised due a medication she takes to manage Crohn’s disease.

Speier works as a freelance journalist and pens a blog. She recently attended an event at the governor’s mansion with her clean air device in hand. She attended a benefit for Broken Shovels Farm Animal Sanctuary.

According to Speier’s blog, the Denver Public Library has four portable air monitoring devices available for checkout. The waiting list included more than 100 people in December, she wrote.

Masks still needed for immunocompromised at events

According to the American Medical Association, people with compromised immune systems still should wear masks. “This is especially true when you are indoors in a poorly ventilated space with a lot of people—masking provides protection to you and the people who are around you,” according to an article by the American Medical Association. “For example, when using mass transit such as airplanes, buses or subways, masking protects people themselves and those around them. Masks also help keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone. Wearing a high-quality mask or respirator is most beneficial in crowded or poorly ventilated locations.”

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

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