Every person in Denver ages 3 and older will need to wear a face mask visiting or waiting in line at commercial businesses, bus stops and health care facilities, city officials announced Friday.
“When we’re at the grocery store, work or any other business, my face covering protects you and your face covering protects me,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “The virus isn’t going away any time soon. By wearing a face covering, you’re doing your part to reduce the spread of infections and keep everyone safer.”
Residents will be given warnings for violating the mandatory order, although those out of compliance could face up to a $999 fine. Enforcement begins May 6.
All drivers and operators of any public transportation must wear a face covering while driving or operating the vehicle, regardless of whether they are transporting passengers, “to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets in the vehicle at all times,” according to the mandatory order. However, no member of the public traveling alone in their car, or with family members, will be required to wear a mask in their vehicle.
According to the order, all retail and commercial businesses, as well as entities with workers performing “critical government functions,” will require their staff, contractors, owners and volunteers to comply with the order at work or offsite when interacting with the public, working in a public space or where food is handled.
Businesses and organizations are ordered to take “reasonable measures,” such as sign posting, to remind their customers of the face mask requirement. They will be required to “take all reasonable steps to prohibit any member of the public” who is not donning a mask “from entering and, if those efforts are unsuccessful, must not serve that person and must seek to remove that person.”
Anyone working in a personal office, or single room, where other people outside of that person’s household are not present will not be required to wear a mask while in that space.
Additionally, any person whose health could be jeopardized by wearing the face mask will not required to do so, but workers with these conditions “must document those concerns with their employer,” according to the order.
The public health order was issued Friday through the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment and will stay in effect until further notice, according to the city’s Joint Information Center.
Enforcement of the order will be carried out by “multiple agencies,” the city’s news release read, “with the goal of compliance and keeping everyone safe through education.”
Medical-grade personal protective equipment, including N-95 masks, should be reserved only for health care workers and first responders. Denver residents are suggested to use cloth, fabric or other breathable material, either store-bought or homemade, to comply with the order.
According to the DDPHE order, a face covering is defined by the following:
-Made of cloth, fabric or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face.
-May be factory-made or may be handmade and improvised from ordinary household materials.
-Should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape.
-Need to cover the nose and mouth at all times and should remain in place until taken off safely.
-Should be replaced when it becomes dirty, wet, and/or difficult to breathe through.
Read the full order here.