Face Coverings/Masks

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Wearing face coverings helps slow the spread of COVID-19. This is why the state has a public health order in place regarding face coverings indoors in public places. 

The order states that fully vaccinated people can go without masks in public indoor spaces unless the setting requires otherwise. Unvaccinated people over age 11 are encouraged to continue wearing masks in all public indoor spaces where members of different households are present. 

Masks are still required in certain settings, including in schools for unvaccinated students, teachers, and staff. Everyone must still wear masks 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.

The CDC says that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a face covering, indoors or out, except for where required by federal, state, or local laws -- such as when riding in a train or airplane. 

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. 

Learn more: 

Person in mask inside a circleEvidence 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. 

Person in mask inside a circle

Changes in Guidance

New information was discovered about the asymptomatic (infected but not showing symptoms) and pre-symptomatic (infected but not showing symptoms yet) transmission of the virus. The US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, changed the recommendation due to the change in information. Watch the Surgeon general explains evolution of CDC face mask guidance.

Double Masking

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. 

Person in mask inside a circle

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.

Person in mask inside a circleSnapshot of Percent of People Wearing a Mask in Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties

Masking data is added to our data dashboard. This data is collected by our Environment Health team and volunteers collecting data at local facilities on the public wearing masks, public not wearing masks, and public not wearing masks properly. This data has been helpful as we continue to promote the importance of mask-wearing and protecting the ones we love. Scroll down to the end of the data dashboard to see the masking data by county and select cities.