June 29, 2020
Boulder County Public Health Extends Facial Covering Order
Boulder County Public Health Extends Facial Covering Order to Protect Health and Support the Local Economy
It’s up to every community member to do their part for the community.
Boulder County Public Health has approved extension of the Boulder County Public Health Order requiring face coverings for every person older than 12 years old whenever in public anywhere in Boulder County that social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. The Order does not have an end date and will remain in place until it is rescinded.
“We know it’s unpleasant to wear a face covering. None of us are excited to wear them. But it’s a small inconvenience that can save lives and our economy,” said Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director. “Wearing face coverings in public is not a political statement; it’s an important tool in our toolbox to help slow the spread of this disease. If we can slow the spread, we’ll be able to enter the Protect Your Neighbor phase which will allow us to further reopen our economy.”
In order to enter the Protect Our Neighbors phase, which further eases restrictions to get more people back to work, communities must qualify by meeting thresholds to lower disease transmission levels, treat patients, and handle the surge in need for intensive hospital care, and conduct testing and effective case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak response.
To protect our residents and rebuild our economy, Boulder County Public Health asks residents to:
- Set an example by wearing a face covering in public if you cannot maintain social distance. This helps normalize or “norm” the behavior which makes it more acceptable for others to adopt.
- Move away from others who are not wearing face coverings if they come closer than six feet to you. This sends a message that you care about their health and safety.
- Always stay at least six feet from others you don’t live with or haven’t agreed to have close contact with. This is as important as wearing a face covering.
- Focus on your sphere of influence rather than strangers. Request that the people you see often, such as co-workers, take precautions.
- Consider the risk and benefit of activities you enjoy and choose activities that are less likely to spread disease. In general, coronavirus spreads best within a closed area, in close proximity for more than 10 minutes. While not entirely risk-free, briefly passing someone outdoors is less likely to spread the virus.
“We know that some people are choosing not to wear face coverings despite being required by law. This is disappointing and leaves it up to the rest of us to be responsible for ourselves, our loved ones, those who could die from the disease, and the survival of our economy,” said Zayach. “Let’s show the state and country that the people of Boulder County care about their community.”
While Boulder County Public Health has partnered with local law enforcement agencies to educate residents about the importance of following the Public Health Orders, resources are limited. Neither public health nor law enforcement have been adequately resourced to respond to reports of single individuals not following the public health requirements.
A cloth mask prevents large droplets of respiratory particles from being expelled into the air, which may contain virus particles if that person is infected. Once the virus is exhaled, it cannot be re-inhaled or worsen the person’s infection. Facial coverings can reduce the spread of droplets from the wearer to others; they do not necessarily protect the wearer from others.
The order includes exceptions, including people working alone in an office, anyone whose health would be negatively impacted by wearing a face covering (including mental health impacts), children aged 12 years and younger, and first responders under certain circumstances (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Order 20-26 requires first responders to wear face coverings).
While the Order does not require children under age 12 to wear a mask, it is expected that parents will encourage and supervise their use for their children older than three years old. Colorado has statutes that indicate that children under age 12 cannot form the requisite intent to violate the law in the same way that an adult can; therefore, masks are only recommended - rather than required - for children ages 3 through 12. Children younger than three years should not wear a face covering due to their risk of suffocation.
In situations where local municipalities also have face covering orders in place, the most restrictive order takes precedence. In addition, the statewide Safer at Home Order requires face coverings for some personal services, such as getting a haircut.
Boulder County Public Health COVID-19 updates are shared by press release and/or on the Boulder County Public Health Facebook and Twitter social media pages and the COVID-19 website at www.boco.org/covid-19.