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Gov. Polis Issues Statewide Mask Order

On 7/16/2020 Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide mask order, directing Coloradans to wear a face covering while indoors. Read more here.

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. Cloth face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

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.

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.

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

May 30, 2020- Larimer County Amended Face Coverings Order

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.

On 7/16/2020 Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide mask order, directing Coloradans to wear a face-covering while indoors. Read more here.

There is no need to wear a face-covering at your home or when you are doing something by yourself outdoors at a minimum of 6 feet or more away from other people, such as walking your dog. The Larimer County 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.

Resources for Local Businesses

Businesses must post signs at entrances that instruct customers they must wear a mask when entering or moving around inside the business. 

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adding a phone number and email address people unable to use a mask can contact. This will reduce the potential that an employee will have to manage a situation with an uncooperative, un-masked person.

Signage:

Face Shields

It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend the use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. Critical/essential workers cannot substitute a cloth face covering with a face shield but may wear a face shield with a face covering for additional protection.

Some people may choose to use a face shield when sustained close contact with other people is expected. If face shields are used without a mask, they should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended.

Surgical Masks

Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or respirators. Currently, those are critical supplies that should continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. Cloth face coverings also are not appropriate substitutes for them in workplaces where masks or respirators are recommended or required and available.


Frequently Asked Questions about Face Coverings and Masks

Masks and face-coverings are interchangeable terms. Cloth masks or face coverings or disposable masks are acceptable as long as they cover the nose and mouth.

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

While at work, people should wear masks appropriate to the business in which they work.

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

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 public indoor space, including our local businesses, and when in close proximity to others outside of your household. 

See the Amended Face Covering Order for Larimer County here.

On 7/16/2020 Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide mask order, directing Coloradans to wear a face-covering while indoors. Read more here.

Yes, the statewide face covering order applies to any indoor setting open to members of the public. If there are specific religious spaces where members of the public are not allowed, such as spaces only accessible by clergy, then this does not apply to those limited settings.

Clergy are not required to wear face coverings while officiating at a religious service.

Mask-wearing requirements apply to everyone indoors, including people exercising. If you are in an indoor room with other patrons who are not a part of your household, then you need to wear a mask. You may remove it temporarily if you need to catch your breath or safely perform an activity, but wear a mask as much as feasible.

According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, “for many years, health care providers have worn masks for extended periods of time with no adverse health reactions ... there is no risk of hypoxia, which is lower oxygen levels, in healthy adults. Carbon dioxide will freely diffuse through your mask as you breathe.”

There is no documentation required and you do not need to explain that you have a medical condition. Many local businesses are providing alternative ways to patronize their business that do not involve entering their facility for those who are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and those who cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering.

Local businesses must require everyone in their facility to wear a face covering and may ask someone who is not wearing a face-covering to use one of the alternative ways of patronizing their businesses or to leave their facility.

Essentially, this means a person who has trouble breathing or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more from the CDC about other reasons face coverings may not be possible in every situation or for some people. 

If you cannot medically tolerate a mask, you should consider limiting any visits to businesses to protect yourself and others.

If wearing a mask poses a risk to your health, stay at home as much as possible. Many local businesses are providing alternative ways to patronize their businesses for those who are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and those who cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering. A local business may ask someone who is not wearing a mask to use one of these alternative methods to shop. Businesses can deny service to someone who is not wearing a face mask in their facility. 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses may offer reasonable accommodations for individuals with medical disabilities that make it so that they can’t wear a mask. This could include offering delivery or call-ahead curbside pickup instead of allowing entry into the building. More information.

  • The CDC recommends businesses post a sign outside that says “Masks Required” and provide a phone number and email address for someone to contact should they be unable to use a mask.

Refusing to wear a mask in a public indoor space places the business or facility out of compliance. 

Businesses should provide alternative ways for customers to patronize their businesses and refuse service to individuals not wearing masks in their facilities. If a patron becomes combative or refuses to leave, contact local law enforcement, who can help diffuse the situation or intervene if the individual fails to comply.

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.

Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when putting on and taking off your face covering. Hold the mask by the corners and avoid touching the front or back of it. Wash your hands before putting your mask on and right after you remove it. 

Wash your cloth masks regularly with your regular laundry and allow them to dry completely before wearing again.

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 by the person wearing it from getting onto others. The masks protect the people around you from you, not you from them.

We know how frustrating that is. Thank you for doing your part by wearing a face covering when you’re out. The statewide mask order requires everyone age 11 and older to wear a face covering when visiting a public indoor space. Local businesses and facilities are required to have their customers and employees in face coverings while inside a facility.

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. If someone refuses to leave a facility after being asked to leave because they are not wearing a mask, the situation becomes a trespassing issue that local law enforcement can be called to help with.

 

It is not known if face shields provide any benefit to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles from the person wearing the shield. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. Critical/essential workers cannot substitute a cloth face covering with a face shield but may wear a face shield with a face covering for additional protection.

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 donations Monday-Friday between 8am and 4:30pm at the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment in Fort Collins (1525 Blue Spruce Dr.). Our staff share them as they are available with those who need them.