Frequently Asked Questions

Public Health Order: Face Coverings

When is the face covering order in effect?

The face covering order is in effect from Nov. 24, 2021 until 11:59 p.m. Jan. 3, 2022, unless otherwise extended or rescinded. 

Why are face coverings required now?

COVID-19 cases continue to rise and remain a risk to the community and hospital system. Many Denverites are vaccinated, however, other measures are necessary to slow the transmission of COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can spread the virus before symptoms appear or can be asymptomatic. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can unknowingly spread the virus to others. Wearing a face covering is a safe and effective way to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

What does the Public Health Order require?

The Public Health Order requires individuals aged 2 and older to wear a face covering in public indoor spaces. As an alternative, local businesses and venues can voluntarily implement a vaccine verification check before entry into their businesses, in which case masks will not be required if they have verified that at least 95% of the persons within the facility have been vaccinated.

When do I have to wear a face covering?

All individuals 2 years of age or older must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when entering, inside or moving within any public indoor space.

“Public indoor space” is defined as any enclosed indoor area, other than a person’s residence, that is publicly or privately owned, managed or operated. Public indoor spaces include entering, being inside or moving within the common area of an apartment building, condominium or similar residential building, including lobbies, pool areas, elevators, common recreation areas and in offices or other spaces used by the public.

Are there exceptions to the face covering requirements?

Yes. The owner, operator or manager of an indoor facility may choose to require proof of vaccination at the facility prior to entering as an alternative to requiring face coverings. The owner, operator or manager of an indoor facility must verify that at least 95% of the people within the facility have been vaccinated.

Additional exceptions include:

  • Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who are communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication.
  • Individuals who are seated at a food service establishment or actively eating or drinking.
  • Individuals who are asked to temporarily remove their face covering for identification purposes in furtherance of a particular service requiring legal identification.
  • Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role such as law enforcement personnel, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel.
  • Individuals who are actively engaged in a performing arts event, leading religious services, or engaged in other similar activities indoors, so long as the individual maintains at least twelve (12) feet distance from non-household members.
  • Individuals who are receiving a personal, religious, or medical service where the temporary removal of a face covering is necessary to perform the service.
  • Individuals who are alone in an enclosed room or are only with members of their same household in an enclosed room.
  • Individuals who are in a swimming pool and actively engaged in a pool activity in which their face covering might become wet.
  • Individuals inside a Fully Vaccinated Facility.  
  • Individuals who are testifying as witnesses in court proceedings, so long as such individuals wear a face covering at all other times during the proceedings.
  • Individuals who are serving as language interpreters for participants in court proceedings where the ability to see the mouth and hear the translation is essential to communication, so long as such individuals wear a face covering when not providing interpretation services.

Do I need to wear a face covering while eating at a restaurant?

No, you do not to wear a face covering while seated at a food service establishment or actively eating or drinking.

How is this being enforced and what are the penalties for noncompliance?

Pursuant to Denver Charter and Section 24-16 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, the Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) has the authority to enforce this order. It is unlawful for any person to fail to comply with this order and they may also be subject to a civil penalty of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) per violation.

How can I report a business that is not adhering to this public health order?

The City and County of Denver takes the enforcement of current Public Health Orders seriously. If you would like to report a business that is out of compliance with current COVID-19 Public Health Orders, please submit a form online under the Report a Violation tab on the COVID-19 home page. DDPHE will investigate each complaint and will implement necessary corrective measures to ensure all Public Health Orders are being followed for the health and safety of our community.

What are my responsibilities as a business owner?

All owners, operators, or managers of public indoor spaces must post signs at every public entrance to the facility notifying patrons of the face covering requirement.

Is it a threat to our health if we breathe air through a cloth face covering?

No. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) specifically recommends wearing a cloth or other suitable face covering to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

What about people who are working?

The mandate for face coverings includes, while at work, any interaction in person with any member of the public; working in any space visited by members of the public, such as reception areas, grocery store or pharmacy aisles, service counters, public restrooms, cashier and checkout areas, waiting rooms, service areas, and other spaces used to interact with the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time. Workers must have face coverings in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others; if/when working in or walking through common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities; or in any room or enclosed area when other people (except for members of the person’s own household) are present.

Are businesses required to enforce face coverings?

A business is required to observe the Order: employees of the business are required to wear face coverings, and customers are required to wear face coverings. The business owner is responsible for seeing that Denver’s Order is observed on the business premises, although a business owner is not directly responsible for compliance or enforcement beyond that. Other provisions at a business site to ensure public safety, such as social distancing protocols and physical barriers at checkout counters, are encouraged but do not relieve the business from observing the Order.

Can a business turn away customers, or refuse service to a person, for not having face covering?

Yes. A business must take reasonable steps to prohibit any person who is not wearing a face covering from entering. A Denver business may refuse admittance or refuse service to a person not wearing a face covering as long doing so is not discriminatory or arbitrary, i.e., the business is consistent in its enforcement of the face covering requirement for all employees and all customers. Businesses must display signage at public entrances stating that face coverings are required to enter. Some businesses are offering face coverings to customers who arrive without them, which again, should not be offered in a discriminatory or arbitrary way so as to welcome some people and exclude others.

Is it legal for owners, operators, or managers of public indoor spaces to ask for proof of vaccination?

Yes.

Do people working out in an indoor gym need to wear a face-covering while working out under the face covering order?

Yes, unless the facility can confirm 95% of people inside are fully vaccinated and is operating as a Fully Vaccinated Facility.

Are face coverings required at religious services or places of worship?

People at church services or indoors in places of worship must wear face coverings. 

At religious services, an officiant or performer does not need to wear face covering if at least 12-feet from non-household members. Individuals who are receiving a religious service, i.e. communion, can temporarily remove face coverings to complete that service.

Can businesses or venues implement policies that are more restrictive than the public health order?

Yes, businesses may require additional measures in addition to what is required by the public health order to keep employees and guests safe. As an example, a business may require proof of vaccination and also require face coverings be worn indoors. Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) encourages each business or organization to consider the unique characteristics of their operations, take appropriate measures to promote safety and public health, and communicate with patrons about those measures.

 

 

 

  

Public Health Order: Face Coverings and Fully Vaccinated Facilities

How do I qualify as a fully vaccinated facility?

The owner, operator or manager of a facility must:

  • Notify Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) of the name of the facility, address of the facility, type of facility (office building, gym, etc.), contact information of the person at the facility responsible for verifying the vaccination status of people within the facility, and the date the facility began verifying vaccination status. Notification can be made to DDPHE by emailing covidvaccine@denvergov.org.
  • Verify that at least 95% of the people within the facility (including employees, invitees, attendees, and any other person entering the facility) have been fully vaccinated.

Can I make exceptions for religious or medical reasons and still qualify as a Fully Vaccinated Facility?

Yes, so long as at least 95% of the people within the facility have been fully vaccinated. Otherwise, all individuals two years of age or older must wear a face covering in the facility.

What constitutes “fully vaccinated” in terms of compliance for this order?

“Fully vaccinated” means at least two weeks after a person’s second dose in a two-dose series and two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

What qualifies as proof of vaccination? Can I use the state immunization database as proof of vaccination?

Acceptable proof of vaccination includes verifiable records such as original vaccination card or digital pass via smartphone application like the MyColorado App. Digital photos or photocopies are also accepted.

If I am a fully vaccinated facility, can I allow an unvaccinated person in if they are wearing a mask?

Yes, as long as 95% of people in the facility have shown proof of full vaccination.

Is it legal for owners, operators, or managers of public indoor spaces to ask for proof of vaccination?

Yes.

Are children under 12 included when counting the number of unvaccinated people inside a facility?

Yes, 95% of people inside the facility, including children under 12, must be vaccinated to comply with the Order.

 

 

General Vaccine Questions

What is the FDA approval status of the vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the FDA for the prevention on COVID-19 disease in individuals 5 years of age and older. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine approved for emergency use in this same age group. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are both approved for emergency use for individuals 18 and older. All of the vaccines are safe and have been confirmed to meet the Food and Drug Administration's rigorous scientific standards. 

Are the vaccines safe to use?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications. The vaccines have been through more safety testing than many other mandated and fully approved vaccines and the manufacturers have met all necessary safety requirements. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have each received emergency use authorization from the FDA and are waiting on the approval of the paperwork for full approval.

Where can I get vaccinated if I live in Denver?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and healthcare partners across the city. All three COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents, and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available here: https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

Some people experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury including pain at the site of the injection. Others may develop systemic reactions like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind that these side effects are indicators that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine.

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I receive?

Yes, you can determine which vaccine to get. All three are readily available through pharmacies and healthcare partners across the city. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available at: https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

Is it true that COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue?

No, that is false. None of the vaccines -- the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine contain fetal cells.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility or increase the chances of a woman miscarrying?

COVID-19 vaccines have not been linked to infertility or miscarriage. A sophisticated disinformation campaign has been circulating online, claiming that antibodies to the spike protein of COVID-19 produced from these vaccines will bind to placental proteins and prevent pregnancy. This disinformation is thought to originate from internet postings by a former scientist known to hold anti-vaccine views.

While there are no formal studies, the best evidence comes from women who got sick with COVID-19 while pregnant. While data clearly indicates pregnant women are at higher risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection, there is no evidence of increased miscarriage rates. During natural infection, the immune system generates the same antibodies to the spike protein that COVID-19 vaccines would. Thus, if COVID-19 affected fertility, there already would be an increase in miscarriage rates in women infected with COVID-19. This has not happened.

If I have already had COVID-19, do I still need to be vaccinated?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover, but we do know that vaccination helps protect you even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

When should I get a booster vaccine?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) the week of August 23, 2021 for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to allow for the use of an additional dose for certain immunocompromised individuals. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommends a booster for anyone 18 and older who has received the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago, or received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for your initial dose at least two months ago. 

Coloradans who need an additional dose should be able to access them immediately at enrolled state and federal vaccine providers. Additional doses are free. No identification, insurance, or proof of medical history is required to receive an additional dose. Coloradans may self-report their immunocompromising conditions to vaccine providers. More information is available here. 

 

 

Vaccines for those aged 5-11

Why should I get my child (aged 5-11) vaccinated against COVID-19?

Although fewer children have been infected with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can get sick from COVID-19 and spread COVID-19 to others. Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective method in preventing infection, severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 in both children and adults. Additionally, widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic Protect your child, your family, and your community by vaccinating those 5 years and older.  

What is the approval status of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the prevention on COVID-19 disease in individuals aged 5-11. Vaccines are safe and have been confirmed to meet the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards.  

What are the risks associated with getting a COVID-19 vaccine in this age group?

Adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are extremely rare. The known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death, far outweigh the potential risks associate with vaccination. It’s possible you may experience short-term mild or moderate reactions after receiving the vaccine, but those side effect resolve quickly.  

What are the side effects of the vaccine on children aged 5-11?

Similar to those in older age groups, some children experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve quickly including pain at the site of the injection. Others may develop systemic reactions like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind that these side effects are indicators that the immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine. 

Are children aged 5-11 given the same vaccine dosage as adults?

No. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11 is comprised of two, 10-microgram doses, administered 21 days apart.  

How effective is the vaccine in children?

Pfizer’s clinical trials showed that the vaccine for children ages 12-15 years was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. The vaccine for children ages 5-11 years was about 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. Both vaccines were 100% effective in preventing severe disease and death. 

Where can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and health care partners across the city. COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents, and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Many providers are taking advance COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children ages 5-11. 

Beginning Friday, November 5, CDPHE is partnering with Children’s Hospital Colorado to offer vaccine clinics for children ages 5-11. Find clinic dates and sign up for an appointment in advance.

If you have specific questions, contact your child’s pediatrician. 

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available on our website, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

How can I protect unvaccinated family members, including children that are too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Protect unvaccinated family members by vaccinating those 5 years and older and wearing a face covering in all indoor public spaces.Do NOT put face coverings on children under 2 years of age.

 

Booster Shots

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot?

Colorado is considered a high risk place to live and work, which has led to booster shot eligibility to expand to include anyone 18 years or older.

People who received Pfizer or Moderna for their primary series are eligible to receive a booster shot 6 months following their primary vaccine series.

People who received Johnson & Johnson for their primary vaccine are eligible to receive a booster shot two (2) months following their primary vaccine.

Can I “mix and match” the COVID-19 primary series and booster shot I receive?

The FDA and CDC have now approved the “mixing and matching” of COVID-19 primary series and booster shots meaning that eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. The availability of type of vaccine may vary by provider. 

What are the risks associated with getting a booster shot?

Similar to the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, some people experience short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve quickly including pain at the site of the injection. Others may develop systemic reactions like headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind these side effects are indicators that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine. 

Am I still considered “fully vaccinated” if I don’t get a booster shot?

Yes. Everyone is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks following their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Why do I need a booster shot?

While COVID-19 vaccines are working well to protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death, public health experts are beginning to see reduced protection likely due to waning immunity and the emergence of new variants. Clinical trials showed that a booster shot increased the immune response of participants.

Where can I get a booster shot?

COVID-19 booster shots are readily available through pharmacies and health care partners across the city. All three COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available on our Get A Vaccine website, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines

 

 

Public Health Order: Vaccine Mandates

Why has Denver implemented a vaccination requirement?

While Denver’s current vaccination rate is more than 75%, cases of COVID-19 are increasing in our community including cases of the highly contagious Delta variant. More of our residents need to be vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus before fall and winter months, when respiratory illnesses traditionally increase. Vaccination is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and bolster our economic recovery.

Why have you implemented this requirement now?

COVID-19 cases are increasing across the country and in our region, and new data shows that the Delta variant strain is many more times infectious than previous strains. While Denver’s vaccination rate is relatively high and the current hospitalization rate is low, we need to act now before cold and flu season to vaccinate as many people as possible to protect against new strains of the virus, save lives and bolster our economic recovery.  

Scientific evidence shows that unvaccinated people are fueling community transmission of variants and are jeopardizing the health of the entire population, including those who are already vaccinated. Achieving a high vaccination rate is our best protection against more restrictive public health measures and economic impacts.   

Is Denver requiring masks per recent CDC guidance?

Face coverings are required for everyone age 2 and over in all indoor public areas. 

Face coverings are required for everyone age 2 and older indoors at all childcare facilities and schools (pre-k through grade 12) regardless of vaccination status. 

Face coverings are required for everyone age 2 and older indoors at all childcare facilities and schools (pre-k through grade 12) regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are required on public transportation, including public transit networks, airplanes, buses, trains, taxis, Ubers and Lyfts regardless of vaccination status. 

 Face coverings are required for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated staff, residents, patients, and visitors in correctional facilities, shelters for people experiencing homelessness, emergency medical, and healthcare settings.

The City and County of Denver’s guidance varies from recommendations of the CDC. Why is that?

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) reviewed the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommending that everyone wear face coverings indoors. While we respect this guidance, we’re taking an even stronger approach by requiring vaccination among employees in high-risk settings and City and County of Denver employees. 

Is this new vaccine requirement legal?

Yes. As the accredited public health agency for the City and County of Denver, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) has the authority to issue public health orders to protect the public from immediate and imminent risk to their health and safety. Colorado law requires compliance with executive and public health orders. 

Who is responsible for enforcing this requirement?

Each employer subject to this public health order must decide how they will enforce this the vaccination requirement with their employees. Disciplinary action, in consultation with the employer's human resource department and legal counsel, is one of the consequences employers may choose to impose in order to gain compliance with the public health order.

Those who do not comply with the vaccination requirement are subject to enforcement action. DDPHE is the regulatory agency that has enforcement authority over this requirement pursuant to Chapter 24 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, and vaccination and exemption records must be made available to DDPHE upon request.

I’m concerned about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, what should I do?

The best thing to do is get vaccinated and to encourage those around you to get vaccinated. The vaccine is free, appointments are readily available, and no documentation or insurance is required. COVID-19 vaccines decrease the risk of infection by 95% and almost eliminate the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. 

If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should immediately self-isolate and be tested. For more information about testing and vaccination locations, please visit https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information

How will Denver Department of Public Health & Environment track vaccine records, including exemptions, to ensure city employees are complying with the vaccine mandate?

Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) will investigate violation claims and evaluate the employees records regarding the number of persons it had confirmed were vaccinated or received a medical or religious exemption. DDPHE also will evaluate the number of employees who still have outstanding records regarding vaccination status. Medical exemptions must include documentation from a physician indicating that the person should not be vaccinated. Religious exemptions should include a written explanation detailing specifically how sincerely held religious beliefs do not allow for vaccination.

What is required from employers to show they are working towards meeting the vaccine mandate?

Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) will require information from the employer regarding the plan to bring their impacted employees into compliance with the order, including whether those persons are in the process of completing vaccination or obtaining exemptions and whether control measures are implemented to address the potential risk posed by an individual with unresolved vaccination status (e.g. face coverings, distancing, remote work, etc.). DDPHE will also consider the efforts of the employers with respect to educating employees regarding vaccinations and working with employees to obtain compliance. Additionally, DDPHE will consider allowing additional time as an individual employer may need to comply with the order, if the employer demonstrates good faith.

 

Vaccine Info for Employers

How should I collect vaccination information?

Employers should work with their human resources partners regarding maintaining vaccine information as it may be considered medical information. Employee vaccination information must be made available to DDPHE upon request.

What counts as proof of vaccination?

Vaccination cards are proof of vaccination. Proof can also be obtained through the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

What exceptions can we make for employees who cannot get vaccinated for medical or religious reasons?

Employers should work with their human resources partners and legal counsel for help in determining what may constitute reasonable accommodations in any given situation. COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. Delaying vaccination until full FDA approval of the vaccine is not a reasonable exception to this Public Health Order.

What types of accommodations can be made for people with medical or religious exemptions?

Required face coverings, physical distancing, and routine testing are types of accommodations that can be provided.
Learn more about potential accommodations from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website.

What documentation must be kept to meet the requirements of religious or medical accommodations?

An employer should maintain documentation of the information and supporting documentation that employees submitted in support of their exemption requests,  any other information or documents the employer considered when evaluating the requests, and any communications documenting the decision.

Medical exemptions must be based upon a physician’s documentation that the employee cannot receive the vaccine due to a medical condition.  Religious exemptions must be based upon documentation that includes an explanation from the employee as to how specifically getting the COVID-19 vaccination conflicts with sincerely-held religious beliefs.  It is the responsibility of each employer to securely maintain immunization records, to determine exemption approvals and denials, and to maintain exemption records and to make those available upon request to DDPHE. Documentation for exemptions must include written communication to the employee regarding the specific accommodation that are being required to address the risk presented by the employee’s unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated status. 

Accommodations may include the use of face coverings, social distancing, routine COVID-19 testing, distancing, or reassignment to remote duties or duties where employees are not subject to Denver’s vaccination requirement.  Similar protections must also be in place after September 30th for any employees who are in the process of meeting the vaccination requirement but are not yet in compliance.

Can an employer choose to approve an exemption without putting any mitigation measures in place?

Employers who knowingly circumvent the vaccine mandate by failing to properly enforce it among their workforce, and thereby place other employees and/or the public at risk can certainly be considered to be in violation of the public health order.

If an employee refuses to get vaccinated, what should I do?

Employers should work with their human resources partners and legal counsel to determine how they will enforce compliance.

Who is responsible for enforcing this requirement?

Each employer subject to this public health order must decide how they will enforce this the vaccination requirement with their employees. Disciplinary action, in consultation with the employer's human resource department and legal counsel, is one of the consequences employers may choose to impose in order to gain compliance with the public health order.

Those who do not comply with the vaccination requirement are subject to enforcement action. DDPHE is the regulatory agency that has enforcement authority over this requirement pursuant to Chapter 24 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, and vaccination and exemption records must be made available to DDPHE upon request.

My organization operates in Denver but is not based in Denver, does this requirement apply to me?

Yes, personnel working in the City and County of Denver are required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.

Are visitors required to be vaccinated?

No, this does not apply to visitors. 

Does the vaccine mandate in the Public Health Order apply to all City and County of Denver contractors, even those who are not client-facing?

The Public Health Order (PHO) applies to all individuals who provide services onsite and/or in the field to or on behalf of the City on a contractual or volunteer basis.

Contractors providing towing and board-up services out in the community on behalf of the City and County of Denver are required to comply with the PHO. In addition, individuals who are under contract to deliver goods like uniforms and office supplies onsite to city facilities are considered to be providing a delivery service to the city and are thus required to comply with the PHO. Entities that manufacture and supply the goods, like Staples and Galls, are not required, but are encouraged, to vaccinate all other employees.


Does the vaccine mandate in the Public Health Order (PHO) apply to all members of boards and commissions and all volunteers who provide services to or on behalf of the City and County of Denver?

Yes. The PHO applies to all individuals who are members of boards and commissions and all volunteers who provide services to or on behalf of the City and County of Denver. Therefore, all individuals who fall within either of these two categories must be fully vaccinated.

To be clear, the PHO applies to all members of mayoral boards and commissions. A list of these boards and commissions subject to the PHO can be found online here. Other volunteer boards or commissions that are organized by the city and provide a service to or on behalf of the city would need to be vaccinated if they are conducting their work on-site at a city property or in the field. 

The mandate does not include self-selected community groups comprised of citizens offering personal input or experience on city projects or initiatives are not considered city employees or personnel and are thus not subject to the PHO. Examples include RNOs and other community-based organizations where membership is not decided by the city. In addition, community members who attend informational and interactive presentations prepared and presented by city staff or personnel are also covered by the PHO.

Can City and County of Denver employees continue to participate in physical meetings led by community-based organizations who request the city to present at these in-person meetings?

All city employees and city personnel who provide a service to or on behalf of the city must comply with the PHO, meaning that any city employee  or personnel participating in physical meetings led by community-based organizations should either have been fully vaccinated or have obtained a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by Sept. 30, 2021.

Are volunteer and community members participating in City Council led physical meetings required to be vaccinated in order to participate?

Volunteer and community members participating in in-person City Council meetings are not required to be vaccinated to participate.

 

Vaccine Info for Employees

Who is required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Denver?

Personnel who are onsite or in the field providing services to the following entities:

  • Hospitals, clinical settings, primary care settings, longer-term care facilities, and other locations where health care services are offered
  • Shelters for people experiencing homelessness, including day and overnight shelters
  • Correctional facilities, including jails, detention centers and community corrections sites and residences
  • Schools, including post-secondary and higher education, and childcare centers
  • Any entity providing home care to patients
  • Any entity providing first responder services
  • City and County of Denver

Personnel is defined as individuals who provide services onsite or in the field, as an employee, contractor or volunteer. In the field means out in the community, as opposed to onsite or from home. For purposes of this Public Health Order, non-contractor visitors to work sites are not subject to this order, nor are delivery drivers who do not get out of their vehicle at the work site. The City and County of Denver will not reimburse contractors for any compliance expenses. 

When did the vaccine requirement go into effect?

As of Sept. 30, 2021, employees, contractors, and volunteers must be fully vaccinated.

What happens if I am in a required category and I was not fully vaccinated by Sept. 30, 2021? Can I be fired from my job if I don’t get the vaccine?

Each employer subject to this order must decide how they will enforce this requirement. Employers may choose to impose disciplinary action if employees are not fully vaccinated by Sept. 30, 2021. Employees with medical or faith-based reasons for not getting the vaccination will need to work with their employer to determine if they are eligible for an accommodation.

What if I have a medical or religious reason that I can’t be vaccinated?

Employers should provide reasonable accommodations to persons who have either medical or religious exemptions from the vaccine.  Each employer will be responsible for making that determination. 

Medical exemptions must be based upon a physician’s documentation that the employee cannot receive the vaccine due to a medical condition.  Religious exemptions must be based upon documentation that includes an explanation from the employee as to how specifically getting the COVID-19 vaccination conflicts with sincerely-held religious beliefs.  It is the responsibility of each employer to securely maintain immunization records, to determine exemption approvals and denials, and to maintain exemption records and to make those available upon request to DDPHE. Documentation for exemptions must include written communication to the employee regarding the specific accommodation that are being required to address the risk presented by the employee’s unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated status. 

Accommodations may include the use of face coverings, social distancing, routine COVID-19 testing, distancing, or reassignment to remote duties or duties where employees are not subject to Denver’s vaccination requirement.  Similar protections must also be in place after September 30th for any employees who are in the process of meeting the vaccination requirement but are not yet in compliance.

I volunteer with a currently required agency, but I am not employed by them. Do I have to get vaccinated?

Yes, individuals who volunteer for agencies or entities described in the Public Health Order must be fully vaccinated.

Does this requirement include K-12 students?

No, children do not fall under the requirements of the vaccine requirement outlined in this Public Health Order. However, all eligible people are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, including those 12 and older.  

Does this include faculty and staff at higher education institutions?

Yes, faculty, staff, and volunteers at higher education and post-secondary institutions are covered by the vaccine requirement in the latest Public Health Order. Students at higher education institutions are not covered by this Public Health Order but may have vaccine requirements laid out by their specific colleges or universities. 

If I'm unionized, does this still apply to me?

Yes, all employees in the listed categories are required to follow this mandate.  

There are reports of employees testing positive for COVID-19 even though they were vaccinated (before the mandate). What is the guidance for these employees if this were to occur?

The current guidance is for anyone testing positive (vaccinated or unvaccinated), they will need to isolate for 10 days. Denver Department of Public Health and Environment's (DDPHE) case investigations and contact tracers will be in contact with each individual who tests positive with any further guidance.

Proof of Vaccination/Vaccine Availability

How do I show proof of vaccination?

Your vaccination card is proof of vaccination. You can also access the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal to view and print an official record of your immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization

You should follow your employer’s process to show proof of vaccination.  

What if I can’t find my vaccination card?

If you got your vaccine in Colorado, patients and guardians of minors can now use the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal to view and print an official record of their immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

You can also download the myColorado App and click on the myVaccine Record section. The app may require additional log-in information to access the record the first time. 

How do I replace or get a copy of my vaccination card?

You can reach out to your vaccine provider to see if they can offer a replacement. 

If you got your vaccine in Colorado, you can also use the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) Public Portal to view and print an official record of your immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

Can I use the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) as proof of vaccination?

Yes, you can both view and print an official record of your immunizations. More here: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/prevention-and-wellness/disease-and-injury-prevention/immunization/for-the-public/immunization 

What if my vaccination record is not in the Colorado’s immunization database?

If you are unable to access immunization records through the Public Portal, please call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) for assistance. 

Where can I go to become vaccinated?

Vaccines are free and readily available, and no documentation or insurance is needed. To learn more and find out where to get a free vaccine: 

Is the vaccine free? Do I need to show proof of insurance?

The vaccine is free. Providers should not ask you to pay for the vaccine or other administrative costs, even if you don’t have health insurance. If you do have insurance, your provider may seek reimbursement from your health insurance company. Regardless, you should not be charged. 

Are the vaccines safe to use?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications. The vaccines have been through more safety testing than many other mandated and fully approved vaccines and the manufacturers have met all necessary safety requirements. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have each received emergency use authorization from the FDA and are waiting on the approval of the paperwork for full approval.

Where can I get vaccinated if I live in Denver?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available through pharmacies and healthcare partners across the city. All three COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Denver residents, and no insurance or identification are required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available here: https://denvergov.org/Government/COVID-19-Information/Vaccination/Get-a-Vaccine, or you can text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English, or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish, to get the contact information of three nearby locations with available vaccines. 

Compliance and Enforcement

What happens if I am in a required category and I am not fully vaccinated by Sept. 30? Can I be fired from my job if I don’t get the vaccine?

Each employer subject to this order must decide how they will enforce this requirement. Employers may choose to impose disciplinary action if employees are not fully vaccinated by Sept. 30. Employees with medical or faith-based reasons for not getting the vaccination will need to work with their employer to determine if they are eligible for an accommodation.

How can I report a business that is not adhering to this Public Health Order?

Call 311 to report concerns related to non-compliance of public health orders.

How do I document a faith-based or medical reason to not be vaccinated?

Each employer should establish processes through which employees may seek faith-based or medical exemptions from the mandatory vaccination requirement. Employees seeking such exemptions may want to contact their human resources department for guidance.

Medical exemptions must be based upon a physician’s documentation that the employee cannot receive the vaccine due to a medical condition.  Religious exemptions must be based upon documentation that includes an explanation from the employee as to how specifically getting the COVID-19 vaccination conflicts with sincerely-held religious beliefs.  It is the responsibility of each employer to securely maintain immunization records, to determine exemption approvals and denials, and to maintain exemption records and to make those available upon request to DDPHE. Documentation for exemptions must include written communication to the employee regarding the specific accommodation that are being required to address the risk presented by the employee’s unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated status. 

Accommodations may include the use of face coverings, social distancing, routine COVID-19 testing, distancing, or reassignment to remote duties or duties where employees are not subject to Denver’s vaccination requirement.  Similar protections must also be in place after September 30th for any employees who are in the process of meeting the vaccination requirement but are not yet in compliance.

Who is responsible for enforcing the vaccine mandate?

Each employer subject to this order must decide how they will enforce this requirement with their employees. Disciplinary action is one of the consequences employers may choose to impose in order to gain compliance, which is the goal of the Public Health Order. Employers should work with their human resources partners to maintain vaccine information. Further, employers are advised to coordinate with their human resources team to provide reasonable accommodations to those eligible for exemptions from the vaccine. Each employer will be responsible for making that determination.

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) is the regulatory agency that has enforcement authority over this requirement pursuant to Chapter 24 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, and vaccination and exemption records must be made available to DDPHE upon request.

Ultimately, the City’s goal is to achieve compliance, not to penalize employers. DDPHE is hopeful that impacted employers will work diligently to comply with the order. However, if an organization is out of compliance with the public health order, the City may issue a citation, which could include fines and penalties.

How will claims of violation of the vaccine mandate be handled and enforced?

DDPHE will respond to and investigate any claims of violations of the order as received or as DDPHE becomes aware. DDPHE may also conduct proactive monitoring to assess compliance rates across industries and settings.

 

School and Child Care Mask Mandates

Does the Public Health Order require face coverings in private schools?

Yes, all schools and childcare facilities in the City and County of Denver are covered by this order.

Are face coverings required in home-based childcare facilities?

All people ages 2 and older in licensed childcare facilities in the City and County of Denver are required to wear face coverings indoors.

Where are face coverings required under the new Public Health Order?

Face coverings are required to be worn at all times indoors at schools and childcare facilities. Under the order, face coverings are not required to be worn outdoors at these facilities, though each school may implement additional outdoor masking requirements at their discretion.

How will the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) enforce this policy?

The goal is education to get compliance. Similar to other public health orders in Denver, DDPHE will conduct proactive compliance checks and respond to complaints. Violations of the public health order are subject to an administrative fine as well as criminal charges that allow for up to 300 days in jail.

Why is Denver implementing a vaccination requirement?

While Denver’s current vaccination rate is more than 72%, cases of COVID-19 are increasing in our community including cases of the highly contagious Delta variant. More of our residents need to be vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus before fall and winter months, when respiratory illnesses traditionally increase. Vaccination is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and bolster our economic recovery. 

Is anyone exempt from this mandate?

  • People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or otherwise living with a disability where fully observing facial expressions is essential to communication, including speech therapy.
  • Individuals who must temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes.
  • Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role, such as law enforcement, firefighters or emergency medical personnel.

Will parents / volunteers be required to wear face coverings when entering school/childcare property?

Yes, in order to provide the highest level of protection, everyone ages 2 and up must wear a face covering when indoors at schools and childcare facilities, regardless of vaccination status.

What if my child is vaccinated?

Everyone ages 2 and up must wear a face covering when indoors at schools and childcare facilities, regardless of vaccination status.

Do exemptions exist for philosophical or religious reasons?

No, there are not exemptions to the face covering requirement for religious or philosophical reasons.

Can face covering be removed when eating and drinking?

Face coverings may be removed when seated during meal and snack time and while actively eating and drinking.

Is it safe for children as young as 2 to wear a face covering?

Yes, according to the CDC, it is safe for children 2 years and older to wear a face covering. The current Denver Public Health Order requires face coverings be removed during naps and that nap mats be placed at least six-feet apart.

Do face coverings need to be worn at recess or during pick-up and drop-off?

Per the Public Health Order, face coverings are only required indoors at schools and childcare facilities, however each school or facility may implement additional policies that may require face covering outdoors.

Do face coverings need to be worn during indoor sports activities at schools and childcare facilities?

Yes, unless covered under a Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA)  exemption or under the school sports guidance.

Learn more about sports activities on our "School Sports Guidance" page.