Face Coverings and Masks
|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.|
The CDC and the US Surgeon General strongly endorse the use of 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.
It is important that your mask fits well and that you wear it correctly and consistently. Your mask should completely cover your nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of your face and not have gaps, and have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask. Multilayer cloth masks are preferred over single-layer cloth masks. Be sure to wash your cloth masks after each wear.
Masks Required in Some Places
Wearing face coverings helps slow the spread of COVID-19. In order to help reduce the spread of the virus, we issued a Public Health Order requiring masks in all indoor public spaces. Additionally, people ages 2 and older in school and childcare settings are required to wear masks.
The state's Public Health Order 20-38 requires unvaccinated people to wear masks in specific settings, including medical facilities, homeless shelters, prisons, and jails.
Masks are also 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.
Current CDC 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 "High" level of transmission.
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.
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 Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2.