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Guidance For Businesses

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City and County of Denver
Public & Business Guidelines

As of July 1, 2020

Face Covering Order Update!

As of July 21, 2020, the Denver Face Covering Order(PDF) has been revised to maintain the minimum age for the wearing of face coverings to three-years-old and to add signage requirements for public indoor spaces. This update follows the statewide order issued by Governor Polis on July 16, 2020.

To comply with the updated order, owners, operators, or managers of public indoor spaces, as defined in EO D2020-138 (PDF), must post required signage (PDF) in a conspicuous place at every public entrance to the facility by July 28, 2020.  Signs must be clearly visible to the public and must be printed at a size of no less than 11 inches wide by 17 inches in height.

The City & County of Denver’s public health and business opening guidelines are aligned with the State of Colorado’s Safer at Home Executive Order and Public Health Order except where indicated*.

General Requirements for the Public

  • Face coverings required for customers of businesses, government services, mass transit, and ride-share *Variance from State: Denver requires face coverings
  • Social distancing of 6-feet or more from other individuals

Coloradans are no longer ordered to stay home but are strongly advised to stay at home. Critical businesses are open and limited non-critical businesses are operating with strict precautions in place. 

Promoting a Shared Recovery

What else can employers and business owners voluntarily do to promote our shared recovery?

  • Implement symptom monitoring protocols such as temperature checks
  • Limit or discourage in-person meetings
  • Discourage the use of shared spaces such as breakrooms and meeting rooms
  • Consider using separate entrances and exits, with staff members counting visitors to control the number of guests at one time
  • Install plastic protective shields to provide protection between employees and customers 

Enforcing the Public Order

The city will operate on a complaint-based system and on information gathered during site visits. The public should alert the city to non-compliant business practices by calling 3-1-1

When is a face covering not required?

A face covering is not required under the following circumstances:

  • When a person is in a personal office (a single room) where others outside of that person’s household are not present as long as the public does not regularly visit the room. However, that individual must put on a face covering when coworkers are working within six feet when being visited by a client/customer, and anywhere members of the public or other coworkers are regularly present.
  • Any child under the age of three should not wear a face-covering because of the risk of suffocation.
  • Childcare facilities should follow CDPHE guidance for the use of face coverings on children age three or older.
  • When a person is (1) inside or obtaining services at a business, Critical Government Function, or Healthcare Operation, any of which are engaged primarily in providing congregate care, residential health care, or congregate shelter, and (2) the individual is engaged in activities not conducive to wearing a face covering, such as eating or sleeping, or the individual is in an area of the facility that is not designed for community gathering, such as a sleeping area.
  • When wearing a face covering would inhibit the individual’s health. Workers with health issues that preclude them from wearing a face-covering must document those concerns with their employer.

For more information:

  • Check the state’s Safer-at-Home website — — for more information, including Public Health Orders and FAQs.
  • Within Denver, dial 3-1-1.  Outside Denver, dial 720-913-1311.


  • Critical businesses must comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the CDPHE and any applicable local health department.
  • Non-critical retail such as clothing, home goods, cell phone (with 50% capacity and social distancing), including in malls that have obtained an exception from the State.
  • Restaurants & Food Services: Restaurants and other businesses offering food service can continue curbside food and alcohol pickup/delivery. Indoor onsite consumption is also allowed to 50% of the indoor posted occupancy code limit, not to exceed 50 patrons, whichever is less. Party size limited to a max of eight people, with a minimum spacing of 6 feet apart. Restaurants may also use any existing, licensed outdoor space for in-person dining with the same group limit of 8 and minimum spacing of 6 feet apart. (Learn about Denver’s Temporary Outdoor Expansions for Restaurants and Bars)
  • Personal services such as hair/nail salon, tattoo, pet groomer and personal trainers (with 10 or fewer people in a common business space or max of 50% occupancy, whichever is less; by appointment only, no walk-ins; strict requirements about PPE and distancing; customers to wear face coverings; provide contactless payment options)
  • Campground group facilities, pavilions, cabins, and yurts by reservation only and reduced capacity at campsites. Camp only with members of your household
  • Outdoor Swimming Pools, limited to 50% capacity, up to 50 people, whichever is fewer, excluding staff and coaches.
  • Office-based businesses (with up to 50% employees for in-person work; provide hand sanitizer at entrances and high traffic locations)
  • Field services  such as in-person real-estate showings, architects, home inspectors, engineers, etc.; meetings, showings, appraisals, consultations, open houses, etc. can occur in accordance with indoor event requirements; , and must inquire whether third-party homes have symptomatic individuals or individuals who have contact with known positive cases.
  • Non-Critical manufacturing - open with restrictions and strong precautionary measures; limited to 10 employees; restrict all non-essential external visitors
  • Limited healthcare  with 10 or fewer people in a common business space or a max of 50% occupancy, whichever is less; by appointment only, no walk-ins; patients must wear face coverings; must conduct symptom checks on patients
  • Post-secondary education with restrictions.
  • Professional sports may resume pre-season practices, training, and league play after receiving approval from CDPHE on a reopening plan that details disease prevention and mitigation strategies.


  • Bars, Taverns, Brew Pubs, Breweries, Microbreweries, Distillery Pubs, Wineries, Tasting Rooms, Special Licensees, and Clubs that do not serve food from a licensed retail food establishment must close to in-person service. Bars that offer food from a licensed retail food establishment for on-premise consumption and follow the restaurant requirements - including seating all patrons at tables a minimum of 6 feet apart - may operate up to 50% of the posted occupancy limit or 50 patrons indoors, whichever is less. Additionally, bars may use the calculator for indoor events to allow for occupancy up to 100 patrons indoors.  All bars may continue to operate to-go, curbside and delivery service.
  • Establishments primarily based on smoking, such as cigar bars, hookah bars, and cannabis consumption locations
  • City-owned recreation centers and pools. Libraries are no longer limited to curb-side only services, though curbside services are encouraged.

All businesses must do the following to keep employees safe:

  • Designate a workplace coordinator to address COVID-19 issues
  • Maintain 6-foot separation between employees and discourage shared spaces
  • Clean and disinfect all high touch areas
  • Post signage for employees and customers on handwashing, mask-wearing, and good hygiene
  • Ensure proper ventilation (OSHA guidance)  
  • Limit or discourage in-person meetings
  • Avoid meetings or groupings of more than 10 employees, clients or customers
  • Implement symptom monitoring protocols such as temperature checks
  • Eliminate, or regularly clean and disinfect, any items in common spaces
  • Require employees with symptoms to stay home
  • Accommodate employees who are vulnerable individuals
  • Provide flexible options for employees with child or elder-care obligations
  • Provide appropriate PPE, like gloves, masks, or face coverings
  • Discourage the use of shared spaces such as breakrooms and meeting rooms
  • Consider using separate entrances and exits, with staff members counting visitors to control the number of guests at one time.
  •  Install plastic protective shields to provide protection between employees and customers

All businesses must do the following to as protective measures for customers:

  • Create special hours for vulnerable individuals when practical
  • Encourage 6-foot distancing by patrons and use of face coverings
  • Provide hand sanitizer and wipes at entrances to the greatest extent possible
  • Use contactless payment solutions when possible
  • Create signage regarding health protocols. 

Supporting Small Businesses

In response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Hancock is establishing a Denver Economic Relief and Recovery Council (ERRC). The ERRC will assist in the relief and recovery of Denver's economy by coordinating public and private efforts to assist businesses, nonprofits, employers and workers affected by public health actions taken to prevent community spread of the virus.

The ERRC will serve as an advisory group and will provide strategic recommendations to the Mayor and the city’s executive leadership on how to mitigate and prevent further negative economic impacts of COVID-19, as well as accelerate recovery and future growth for Denver’s economy, businesses and workers. This work will include:

  • Assessing economic trends and impacts to inform relief and recovery policies and programs;
  • Providing strategic planning and direction on implementing policy and other recommendations to address COVID-19 related impacts on businesses, workers and nonprofits;
  • Providing guidance on revisiting current policies that may need to be revised to encourage and incentivize future business growth;
  • Providing any recommendations realized during committee meetings and endorsed by participants in a consensus manner.

Requesting a Variance

Variance Requests

The City and County of Denver variance request process holds public health as the top priority in the consideration of all requests. Please be aware that the process requires extensive review and consideration and may take several weeks to complete. Additionally, the processing of requests may be paused or delayed at any time based on trends with virus data. Priority consideration will focus on requests submitted by industry organizations, as these variances if granted will impact the greatest amount of opportunity.

Temporary Outdoor Expansions for Restaurants and Bars

The City and County of Denver is creating a temporary program to allow restaurants and bars to operate in outdoor settings adjacent to their businesses. The intent of the program is to allow for greater physical distancing and safety for patrons when the state’s public health orders allow restaurants and bars to resume sit-down service. While final rules and regulations are still in development, proposals could include expansion into designated outdoor areas such as adjacent parking lots, streets and sidewalks.

Hosting Safe Special Events

The Office of Special Events is now accepting applications for 2020 events that can comply with state and local Public Health Orders and Guidelines.

FIRST STEP: Review the Office of Special Events' Tips for Outdoor Events and Assemblies document which answers many common questions on holding events during the COVID pandemic.

After reviewing this and other applicable tips documents (below), proceed with completing the online application or contact for more information.

    OSE COVID-19 Prevention Tips Documents:

Face Coverings Required Signs

Face Covering Required Signs can be downloaded below for your business or other sites below:

NEW! Face Coverings Required sign (PDF)

Face Covering Required Poster 11x17 (PDF)

Face Covering Required Poster 8.5x11 (PDF)

Handwashing Signs

Wash Your Hands signs can be downloaded below for your business or other site:

Need to report a COVID-19 outbreak?

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment and Denver Public Health are committed to collaborating with local businesses and organizations to investigate and control COVID-19 outbreaks.

To report an outbreak of COVID-19 in a Denver workplace or organization, please complete our online form. We will review the information submitted, and you or the workplace will be contacted by a representative within 24 hours to discuss the next steps.

If you have urgent questions or need immediate assistance before we follow-up, please email or, or call 3-1-1 (720-913-1311).


With Safer at Home underway and the phased loosening of state restrictions continuing, business and leisure activities are resuming in Denver. Face coverings continue to be mandatory while inside of or waiting in line to enter any retail or commercial business, or any location or facility offering government or health care services and while waiting for or riding on public transportation.

Businesses have been allowed to reopen with 50 percent of employees if they are able to maintain six-foot physical distancing, abide by the face-covering order and other guidelines.

While we are all still safer at home, we are also able to practice greater social distancing in our vast outdoors than in confined indoor spaces. Much of Colorado is now open with restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect those at highest risk for severe illness.

Restaurant Resources

Be a COVID-19 Friendly Diner Poster (8.5x14 - PDF)

Denver’s Temporary Outdoor Expansion Program for Restaurants and Bars (PDF)

Denver Retail Food Establishments Guidance (PDF)

Restaurant Guidance to Sell Raw and Bulk Items (PDF)

Have Questions or Looking For More Information?

To report an issue or for additional questions and assistance, please contact us at:

Within Denver, dial 3-1-1

Outside of Denver, dial 720-913-1311


Colorado’s call line for general questions about COVID-19 provides answers in many languages including English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话), and more.

303-389-1687 or
1-877-462-2911 (answers in English only)

 If you need medical attention, contact a health care provider.