Denver Face Covering Order Extended

Published on December 28, 2021

Face coverings or proof of vaccination will continue to be required in Denver through Feb. 3, 2022

Amid rising cases of COVID-19 and the emergence of the Omicron variant in Colorado, Denver and neighboring metro area counties today announced the continuation of regional efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect hospital capacity.

The City and County of Denver joins other neighboring counties and is extending its current public health order requiring face coverings indoors. Denver’s current public health order will now be in effect through Feb. 3, 2022. The exemption for local businesses and venues that verify full vaccination status before entry will also be extended. 

"In November, Denver and much of the metro area took the necessary steps to curb the rising spread of COVID-19 and reduce the dangerous pressure on our hospital systems. Our efforts were not in vain," Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. "As the Omicron variant continues to spread during this holiday season, and hospital capacity remains strained, we simply cannot afford to let up now."

After the public health order went into effect in November 2021, Denver’s one-week average positivity rate dropped to below 5%, but it has quickly started to rise in the last two weeks. Cases and hospitalizations are expected to continue to increase as community transmission of the Omicron variant becomes prevalent. 

“We must continue to stay the course on science-based control measures like face coverings to ensure hospital beds are available for anyone in need,” said Bob McDonald, executive director of the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment. “While face coverings are a tool to help manage this wave of the virus, vaccines are ultimately our way out of the pandemic. The emergence of a new variant underscores the importance of not only getting the COVID-19 vaccine but getting a booster dose as well.” 

Boosters provide the highest level of protection against the Omicron variant and prevent against serious illness and hospitalization. Everyone 16 years and older should get a booster dose six months after receiving the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. While breakthrough cases are possible, vaccination protects against severe illness and hospitalization. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, boosted Coloradans are 47 times less likely to be hospitalized than unvaccinated Coloradans. 

 Public Health Order Details

The public health order requires face coverings in Denver for everyone age 2 and older in all public, indoor spaces. The extended order will be in effect through Feb. 3, 2022 unless otherwise extended or rescinded.  

As vaccination provides the strongest protection against COVID-19, local businesses and venues may opt to verify vaccinations in lieu of requiring face coverings. If a business or venue can verify that at least 95% of people within the facility (including employees and customers) are fully vaccinated, then face coverings will not be required.  

Facilities wishing to implement a vaccine verification program in lieu of the face covering requirement should contact COVIDvaccine@denvergov.org. Businesses choosing to be fully vaccinated facilities must verify vaccination status by checking proof of vaccination, such as a vaccine card or the MyColorado smartphone app.   

Businesses and venues that have already notified DDPHE of their intent to verify vaccination instead of requiring face coverings do not need to submit a new attestation.  

The extended public health order does not change face covering requirements in schools and childcare facilities, where masks have been required since August.  

The full version of the Public Health Order and more information, including signage for businesses will be made available on Denvergov.org/COVID19.