|Effective Nov. 24: Public Health Order requiring face coverings for all individuals 2 years of age and older in public indoor spaces. Review the full order and additional resources on our Public Health Order page.|
Resources for Children's Face Coverings
- Zero to Three: Mask Up! Talking to Young Children about Wearing Masks
- CDC: Your Guide to Masks English | Spanish
- Healthy Child Care Colorado: Masking in Child Care Guide English | Spanish
Masks Still Required in Many Situations
Wearing face coverings helps slow the spread of COVID-19. The state's Sixth Amended Public Health Order 20-38 requires unvaccinated people to wear masks in specific settings, including medical facilities, homeless shelters, prisons, and jails.
Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations as required by federal law for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Revised CDC Guidance
On July 27, CDC released new masking recommendations for those who are fully vaccinated in response to the Delta variant. The Delta variant is twice as contagious as the strain circulating last winter and could cause more severe illness according to recent studies. The new guidance includes:
- A recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. All counties in the metro Denver area are currently at the "Substantial" level of transmission.
- A recommendation for fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
Wearing a mask in public indoor settings is a safe and effective way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, whether you are fully vaccinated or not.
The CDC and the US Surgeon General strongly endorse the use of non-medical or cloth face masks. They are believed to be particularly important in preventing transmission to others, especially among the large percentage of COVID-19 infected persons who are asymptomatic and don’t realize that they have a risk of transmitting infection to others.
Evidence for Masks
Transmission of the virus can occur when an infected person expels respiratory droplets and a non-infected person breathes these in through their nose and into the lungs, or touches a surface with the droplets on them and then touches their mouth or nose. Respiratory droplets are called aerosols and are a type of particle in the air. Larger sizes can carry the COVID-19 virus through the air.
- Stanford Medicine, University of Colorado, Arizona State University, and others have found that the cloth face covering, depending on the material, can protect the user from about 50% of particles in the air like those from coughs and sneezes. Also, because these face coverings cover the mouth and nose they stop the source of the aerosols produced by sick, pre-symptomatic, and asymptomatic people.
- Read the CDC Scientific Brief: Community Use of Cloth Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2.
Double masking and using multiple layers of materials can improve the effectiveness of wearing a mask. One example is to wear a single cloth mask with multiple layers of fabric. Another example is wearing one disposable mask underneath a single cloth mask. Masks should not restrict breathing and should not impair eyesight.
Social Distancing with Masks
Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. Face coverings should be used together with social distancing to provide the most protection from the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing also means avoiding gathering in large groups, limiting contact with others outside of your household, and keeping 6 feet of physical distance between you and other people who are not yet fully vaccinated.