Purpose of Face Coverings or Masks

People who have the virus but do not have symptoms can spread the virus without knowing it. This can happen in two situations:

  • Asymptomatic spread: transmission of the virus by people who have it and never develop symptoms
  • Pre-symptomatic spread: transmission of the virus by people who have it and do not feel sick but will eventually start to have symptoms

The purpose of a cloth face covering is to protect others around you in case you have the virus but don't know it. Face coverings help to reduce air droplets that are breathed out onto others when we talk, sneeze, or cough which may spread COVID-19 when someone doesn't know they have the virus. 

If possible, use a reusable cloth face covering rather than a medical-grade surgical mask or N95 mask. Supplies of these medical-grade masks are improving but these supplies are needed by our healthcare workers.

When to Wear a Face Covering or Mask

When out of your home in a setting where physical distancing is challenging, we strongly recommend wearing a face covering. Local businesses are required to make sure that everyone in their facility is wearing a face covering, including customers, unless they have implemented additional physical distancing measures. 

May 3, 2020- Larimer County Face Coverings in Businesses Order 

May 30, 2020- Larimer County Amended Face Coverings Order

Alternative to Face Covering Checklist

On 6/4/2020, Governor Polis issued Executive Order D 2020 092 that allows businesses to deny service to customers who do not wear a mask in their facility.

There is no need to wear a face-covering at your home or when you are doing something by yourself a minimum of 6 feet or more away from other people, such as walking your dog. This order does not apply to children under age two (2) or to those people for whom a face covering would cause harm due to an existing health condition. It also does not apply to those working in a location where they will not be within 6 feet of any other individuals or persons working in a professional office who do not have any face-to-face interactions with the public.

Recommendations for cloth face-coverings

These coverings should be made of homemade materials and be washable. According to coloradomaskproject.com, all coverings should have:

  • Two layers of closed weave fabric
  • A flexible nose clip (pipe cleaners work for this)
  • Comfortable and secure ties.

If you are sick, get tested, stay home and self isolate, and report your symptoms on our self-reporting dashboard

If your employer recommends the use of a face covering, refer to your agency’s policy/procedures for guidance. 

For more information about cloth face coverings from CDC, please visit their website.

Frequently Asked Questions about Face Coverings and Masks

Absolutely. The distance and the mask together help provide extra protection when out in the community.

If a business has a sign posted that states they require customers to wear masks, you must wear a mask unless you can not do so safely due to a medical condition.

If a business has a sign that states they have implemented alternative safety measures and are not requiring customers to wear masks, you do not have to wear a mask, but we encourage you to do so. 

CDC recommends that everyone over age 2 wear a mask. We're asking that everyone do their best, but we recognize that many children won't tolerate having a mask on.


Cloth face coverings or masks should be worn whenever you are visiting a local business or in close proximity to others outside of your household. 

See the Amended Face Covering Order for Larimer County here.

There is no documentation required and you do not need to explain that you have a medical condition. The Health Department requires that businesses post signage and remind customers that they require masks, but businesses do not need to be confrontational. Businesses who do not want to enforce that customers wear face-coverings must implement alternative safety measures. 


If wearing a mask poses a risk to your health, stay at home as much as possible.

Cloth masks are available through a variety of venues. Many are simple and easy to make with supplies you might have at home, such as an old T-shirt. Friends and loved ones may be able to make some for you or they can be purchased online through online vendors and crafters.

Cloth face coverings are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and don't know it from spreading it to others unknowingly. Cloth face coverings help keep respiratory droplets that are exhaled from getting onto others. The masks protect the people around you from you, not you from them.

Medical grade masks, surgical masks, and N95 respirators are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers or other medical first responders, as recommended by CDC guidance.

We know how frustrating that is. Thank you for doing your part by wearing a face covering when you’re out. The state order requires that essential workers wear face coverings or masks. Local orders require that face coverings be worn by employees and customers in a business. Larimer County's Face-Covering order states that someone who can not wear a face-covering due to breathing difficulties or medical issues does not need to wear one.  

Other customers and individuals should not become confrontational with other people for not wearing a mask. Do not call 911, the police, or the Sheriff’s Office to report someone not wearing a mask.


Help our community by making and donating fabric face coverings

Help fight COVID-19 by making fabric face coverings for our local essential workers. Homemade masks should be:

  • Made out of homemade materials
  • Made to be washable
  • Made with two layers of close-weave fabric
  • Made with a flexible nose piece (pipe cleaners work well for this)
  • Made comfortable and with secure ties

Drop off homemade face coverings Monday-Friday between 8am and 4:30pm at:

  • Larimer County Department of Health and Environment in Fort Collins-1525 Blue Spruce Dr.
  • Larimer County Sheriff's Department in Fort Collins-2501 Midpoint Dr.
  • The Rialto Theater Center in Loveland-222 4th St.
  • Loveland City Hall (South side of the building)-500 E. 3rd St.
  • Estes Park Town Hall-170 MacGregor Ave