[Update: May 5 at 4:07 p.m.: Today in a press conference, Denver’s city attorney Kristin Bronson explained that the city expects businesses to enact a good faith effort to implement the order by posting signs, training staff about the order and making sure the vast majority of customers are wearing masks. Only those not making a good faith effort are more likely to face citations. “We certainly understand we’re not going to get 100% of compliance 100% of the time,” she said.]
Late on Friday afternoon, Mayor Michael Hancock issued a new order requiring all Denver residents to wear face coverings starting Wednesday, May 6 at 12 a.m. until further notice. This comes after Hancock alluded to this upcoming decision in a Zoom call on Thursday.
“When we’re at the grocery store, work or any other business, my face covering protects you and your face covering protects me,” Mayor Hancock said. “The virus isn’t going away any time soon. By wearing a face covering, you’re doing your part to reduce the spread of infections and keep everyone safer.”
The order, outlined here, explains when and how Denverites must wear a “face covering” — which is also defined in the order. Below is a breakdown of what you need to know.
What Defines a Face Covering?
- A face covering (also referred to as a mask in this article) must be made of multiple layers of “cloth, fabric or other soft or permeable material, without holes.”
- The CDC recommends a tightly woven cotton, like a t-shirt or cotton sheets.
- It can be made professionally or handmade and can also be improvised from household materials (i.e. a bandana folded multiple times would work).
- The mask should cover your nose and chin
- You should be able to breathe in it and it should fit comfortably, especially so you do not have to adjust it and risk touching your face.
- Your mask should be washable
- You should wash your mask frequently, especially after it becomes wet (presumably from respiration) or is dirty.
- Replace your mask if it becomes damaged, misshapen from washing or hard to breathe through.
- According to this order masks with a one-way valve do not count as, “valves of that type permit droplet release from the mask, putting others nearby at risk.”
When Do I Need to Wear a Mask?
- When you are in line or inside of a retail or commercial business
- i.e. the grocery or liquor store, while grabbing food or drink to-go, shopping in general, getting your haircut, going to the dog groomers etc.
- While going to the doctor or receiving or waiting for any other healthcare services for yourself, someone else or a pet.
- i.e. a check-up, going to the pharmacy, seeing a therapist, going to the blood bank, going to the vet etc.
- While waiting for or inside of transportation such as buses, the light rail, taxi, private car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle.
- i.e. any transportation that has a hired driver.
- While at work if you work in retail, commercial, or a business that provides a “critical government function.”
When am I Not Required to Wear a Mask?
- While you are in your own home
- While you are in your own car or a car driven by someone in your family or household
- While in a closed office, not in contact with other people
- While outdoors, not waiting in line or going into any of the places listed above.
- Although it is strongly suggested to wear masks while outdoors in places such as public parks or any place in which you come in close contact with people.
- When with a healthcare provider or healthcare worker or employee and they say you are able to take a mask off.
- If wearing a mask inhibits your health. But if your job requires it, you must provide documents to your employer.
- Additionally, children under the age of three do not need to wear a mask — but all children three and older must wear one in the settings listed above.
What will happen if I don’t wear a mask when I am supposed to?
- You run the risk of getting a fine up to $999 per violation
- Additionally, the Order explained that they may pursue more actions including “one or more civil, criminal, and administrative actions, fees, fines, sentences, penalties, judgments, and remedies and may do so simultaneously or in succession.”