Gov. Polis Issues Statewide Mask Order for Colorado, Effective Today

Gov. Polis Issues Statewide Mask Order for Colorado, Effective Today

Jul 16, 2020

Client Alert

Brownstein Client Alert, July 16, 2020

Effective at midnight today, July 16, 2020, and continuing for the next 30 days (subject to extension), Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide order (D 2020 138) (“Order”) requiring all individuals in Colorado who are age 11 or older to wear face coverings (non-medical masks) when entering or moving within any public indoor space and while using or waiting to use public or non-personal transportation services. The Order is accompanied by a set of Frequently Asked Questions designed to assist in compliance efforts.

The Order broadly defines a “public indoor space” as a “publicly or privately owned, managed or operated, enclosed indoor area that is accessible to the public, is a place of employment, or is an entity that provides services.” Enumerated examples of a “public indoor space” include offices, lobbies, elevators, nonprofits, government buildings, grocery stores, gyms, casinos, retail businesses, restaurants and medical facilities, among others. The Order does not mandate that individuals wear a mask while outdoors unless they are waiting for public or non-personal transportation, such as the RTD or an Uber or Lyft.

Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth of the individual donning the mask.  There are three narrow exemptions from the Order — individuals who are age 10 and under, the hearing impaired or otherwise disabled, and individuals who cannot “medically tolerate face coverings” (i.e., an individual who has trouble breathing or “anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance,” and others outlined in CDC guidance). The Order states that children age two and younger should not wear a mask at all. Additionally, masks are not required when engaging in certain activities (for example, communicating with the hearing impaired, seated at a table in a restaurant, actually swimming in a pool, receiving a personal service where removal of the face covering is necessary to receive the service, giving a speech for broadcast or an audience and where mask removal is required temporarily for identification purposes).  

Businesses are now legally required to refuse service to people who are not wearing a face covering, subject to the exemptions identified in the Order. There is also a new signage requirement; businesses must post signs at entrances instructing patrons to wear a face covering while entering or moving around the business. If a licensed business does not comply with the mask order, it may lose its license. Individuals who refuse to wear masks are subject to potential civil and criminal penalties, and may be prosecuted for trespassing for attempting to enter a business without a mask. Notably, counties can adopt more strict orders. And counties that are certified for “Protect Our Neighbors” status may opt out of the Order.

Click here to read more Brownstein alerts on the legal issues the coronavirus threat raises for businesses.

This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding Colorado's statewide order requiring all individuals to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this document or if you need legal advice as to an issue, please contact the attorneys listed or your regular Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP attorney. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions.

The information in this article is accurate as of the publication date. Because the law in this area is changing rapidly, and insights are not automatically updated, continued accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

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