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Wearing & Making Face Coverings


 
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Why We Should Wear Face Coverings

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.

How To Wear A Face Covering

Face coverings should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
  • include multiple layers of fabric,
  • allow for breathing without restriction, and
  • be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to its shape. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Face Coverings

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:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
  • include multiple layers of fabric,
  • allow for breathing without restriction, and
  • be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to its shape.

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. 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 face covering order mandates that any person, including children over the age of three, must wear a face covering in public settings.

You must wear a face covering when:

  • Inside, or in line to enter, any retail or commercial business, or any facility to receive government, or healthcare services;
  • As a passenger on or while waiting for public transportation, paratransit vehicle, taxi, private car service, ride-sharing vehicle, or any other vehicle for hire;
  • You are working at a retail or commercial business or performing critical government functions.
  • Outside where distancing between people from different households is not possible
    • Does not apply to people when they are by themselves or when with members of the same household.
    • Exemption for organized youth and adult sports provided they have plan in place that addresses certain protective measures and provided they don face coverings when not actively playing/practicing

The use of masks and face coverings has been the most effective way to reduce person-to-person spread of coronavirus. Anytime you are with others outside of your immediate household, face coverings should be worn, and social distance should be maintained.

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. Face coverings must also be worn outside where distancing between people from different households is not possible

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. However, face coverings are required outside where distancing between people from different households is not possible.

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.

You can report a business not observing the Order, either by its employees or its customers, by contacting 311.

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. Face coverings are required in all common areas 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.

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.

How To Make Face Masks

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."

Sign up for Colorado’s Exposure Notifications Service!

One of the key tools to fight COVID-19 and slow its spread is right in your pocket. CO Exposure Notifications is a free and voluntary service developed in partnership with Google and Apple that can notify users of possible exposure to COVID-19. 


Need to report a single case of COVID-19 in an employee?

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE), Denver’s local public health department, is coordinating with local, state, and federal agencies as well as other local partners to provide accurate information about COVID-19. We are continually augmenting the City of Denver’s response plans for COVID-19 and taking measures to reduce local transmission, share resources, and provide accurate communication.

Please review and adhere to these requirements in the event of a single suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in an employee.


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 (2 or more cases) 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 ddpheoutbreak@denvergov.org or call 3-1-1 (720-913-1311).

 

In the News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its recommendations on mask use to include the position that using masks also benefits wearers.

This new position includes an economic argument that increasing the number of people who wear masks by 15 percent could prevent the need for lock-downs and cut the associated losses of up to $1 trillion.

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)

 

The City and County of Denver has enacted the "Adoption of Level Red-Severe Risk" Public Health Order. Effective at 5 p.m. Friday, November 20, the State is requiring Denver to adopt greater restrictions pursuant to the amended Colorado Public Health Order

All public and private gatherings of people who are not members of a single household are prohibited except for limited purposes.

Denver’s tougher face-covering mandate, issued on October 16, 2020, is also still in effect until further notice.

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Looking to Volunteer?

You can find a number of options through organizations like Mile High United Way and HelpNowColorado on our main Donation and volunteer page.


Need Volunteers?

Denver local organizations are encouraged to register volunteer needs through Mile High United Way by emailing volunteer@unitedwaydenver.org.

You may register your needs on the state’s HelpColoradoNow website.