We remain at risk to the spread of COVID-19. As we begin to gradually relax various orders, retailers and other businesses will be engaging more with customers and employees in person. It’s critical we keep each other safe so we don’t lose the progress made in recent weeks. Your face covering protects me and my face covering protects you. Many Denver residents have already adopted the face covering guideline, but we need everyone to continue to do their part to keep everyone safe.
People with COVID-19 can spread the virus before symptoms appear and asymptomatically. Both groups can unknowingly spread the virus to others.
Face coverings should:
You do not need medical-grade masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) to follow this Order. Supplies of medical-grade masks and other PPE remain limited, and should be reserved for use by medical personnel and other front-line responders only. Many community resources exist for a face covering at low or no cost, and a suitable face covering can be made at home without special skill, equipment, or supplies. The State of Colorado recommends Colorado Mask Project, where individuals can find instructions on DIY face coverings, places to purchase face coverings, calls for volunteer face covering makers, and more.
Denver’s mandatory order is for face coverings – a scarf, t-shirt, bandana, etc. Medical-grade masks are not required and should be reserved for healthcare workers, first responders and other emergency and essential workers.
Denver’s Order defines “face covering” as a cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face. A face covering may be factory-made or may be handmade and improvised from ordinary household materials. Manufactured supplies are limited, so suitable face coverings may be homemade and can be made with or without sewing.
Face coverings should:
Face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth at all times and should remain in place until taken off safely. If a worker’s face covering moves during work, it needs to be replaced with one that does not need to be frequently adjusted to reduce touching of the face. A face covering should be replaced when it becomes dirty, wet, and/or difficult to breathe through.
Suitable face coverings can quickly be made at home with or without sewing – for example, a used, clean cotton T-shirt and a pair of scissors can be used to make a suitable face covering. The CDC offers recommendations on how to make DIY no-sew face coverings from materials you can find at home.
No. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) specifically recommends wearing a cloth or other suitable face covering to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Order mandates any person, including children over the age of three, must wear a face covering in specific public settings.
You must wear a face covering when:
Face coverings are encouraged at all other times while out in public. For specific guidance, please consult the public health order.
Data from the CDC shows people without symptoms can and have unknowingly spread the virus. Your face covering protects others around you, and their face covering protects you.
Any person in Denver, including children over the age of three, must wear a face covering in specific public settings: inside or in line for retail and commercial businesses, government and healthcare facilities; as a passenger on or while waiting for public transportation, paratransit vehicle, taxi, private care service, ride-sharing vehicle, or other vehicle for hire; or you are an employee at retail and commercial businesses or performing critical government functions.
Exceptions include people with medical conditions who use assistive equipment to aid with their breathing, including an oxygen tank, although these individuals should be aware they are at higher risk of infection from COVID-19 by virtue of their compromised health, and should remain safe at home. Other exceptions include people who, for other medical reasons, cannot wear a face covering.
Drivers or operators of any public transportation, paratransit vehicle, taxi, private car service, ride-sharing vehicle, or any other vehicle for hire must wear a face covering while driving or operating such vehicle, regardless of whether a member of the public is in the vehicle, to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets in the vehicle at all times.
You do not have to wear a face covering while driving alone, or exclusively with other members of your same family or household, in a motor vehicle.
If you are walking, hiking, running, cycling, or some other form of exercise outdoors and you are alone, a face covering is not required. Unless you are in a situation where it is required, it is still encouraged to wear a face covering while out in public, especially during any activity when you are within six feet of another person.
The mandate for face covering 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 covering 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.
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 strict social distancing protocols and physical barriers at checkout counters, are encouraged but do not relieve the business from observing the Order.
Businesses may request assistance with enforcement by contacting the Denver Police non-emergency line at 720-913-2000.
Businesses that are not observing the order may be reported to 311 (lack of signage, employees not compliant, etc). The complaint will be forwarded to the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. Face covering signage for businesses is available at denvergov.org/covid19.
Yes. A business must take reasonable steps to prohibit any person who is not wearing a face covering from entering. A business may request assistance with enforcement by contacting the Denver Police non-emergency line at 720-913-2000.
While not required in this situation, residents are still encouraged to wear facing coverings in places where you may be within six (6) feet of another person or more than 10 are gathering in close proximity at any one time.
You should frequently launder or hand-wash a cloth face covering. After wearing your face covering, the front of it may be contaminated, so do not touch it. After carefully removing your face covering, place it in a bag if sanitation will not occur immediately. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds following removal of your face covering. After washing your face covering thoroughly with soap and water, allow it to air dry or machine dry. Face coverings that are completely dry should be stored in a cool, dry place until needed.
Additional guidance on wearing, removing, washing and storing your face covering may be found here; https://covid19.colorado.gov/mask-guidance
The Order is in effect until further notice.
The Order only requires face coverings in specific public circumstances. While our goal is compliance through education first, individuals who are not wearing face coverings may be reported to 311. Anyone not wearing a face covering as mandated in the Order could be fined up to $999 and could be subject to additional civil penalties.
The city will also use 311 data to determine where more education is needed.
Residents need to take this face covering order seriously, as they did with the stay at home order. Multiple city agencies will be involved in enforcement, with the goal of 100% compliance and keeping everyone safe through education first.
Businesses that are not observing the order may be reported to 311 for lack of signage, or because employees or customers are not compliant. Reports submitted to 311 will be forwarded to the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. Face covering signage for businesses is available at denvergov.org/covid19.
Individuals who are not wearing face coverings may be reported to 311. Anyone not wearing a face covering as mandated in the Order could be fined up to $999 and could be subject to additional civil penalties. The city will also use 311 data to determine where more education is needed.
By City Charter, in Section 24-16 D.R.M.C., the Director of Denver’s Department of Public Health & Environment has the authority to issue public orders it deems necessary to protect and preserve the health of Denver residents.
Governor Polis has issued statewide guidelines recommending face coverings, and individual cities and counties have the authority to make face coverings orders that are more restrictive within their jurisdiction.
Childcare facilities should provide face coverings for children over the age of three; however, Face Coverings should be removed during naps and nap mats should be placed at least six (6) feet apart. Parents and caregivers must supervise the use of Face Coverings by children to avoid misuse.
From the Colorado Mask Project: "Research shows that DIY masks can help block the spread of COVID-19, especially by preventing people who are asymptomatically infected from spreading the disease unknowingly. That's why government officials—including Governor Jared Polis—are recommending their widespread use. However, given the current mask shortages impacting medical professionals, it’s essential that the general public leaves the supply of N95 medical masks to healthcare workers."
The city is gradually moving from an emergency response phase into one of relief and recovery. As of Wednesday, May 6, 2020, face coverings are mandatory while inside of or waiting in line to enter any retail or commercial business, or any location or facility offering government of health care services, and waiting for or riding on public transportation.
On May 9, 2020, many businesses will be allowed to re-open with 50% of employees if able to maintain six-foot physical distancing, abide by the face covering order and other guidelines.
Everyone is urged to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. We know this is a big ask of our residents and businesses, but it is a necessary step to ensure the health and safety of our community.
You can find a number of options through organizations like Mile High United Way and HelpNowColorado on our main Donation and volunteer page.