September 2, 2021
Masks Required in all Indoor Public Spaces for Age 2+ regardless of vaccination status in Boulder County starting on Sept. 3
Boulder County, CO — Due to the recent surge of the Delta variant and aligning with CDC guidance, Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) issued Public Health Order 2021-08 requiring masks in all indoor public settings during periods of substantial or high transmission as defined by the CDC’s Data Tracker. The order goes into effect Friday, September 3 at 5 p.m. and requires masks in all indoor public spaces for all individuals 2 years and older regardless of vaccination status.
Because the delta variant is nearly twice as contagious, on July 27, 2021, the CDC issued a recommendation emphasizing the need for urgently increasing rates of vaccination and universal masking, regardless of vaccination status, for individuals age 2+ in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission.
The CDC’s Data Tracker defines four levels of transmission: low, moderate, substantial, and high. Boulder County is currently in high transmission.
The order will monitor the CDC’s community transmission tracker in Boulder County and require masks during periods of high and substantial transmission and for the first 21 days after moving into moderate or low transmission. After 21 days in moderate or low transmission level masks will not be required but only recommended, although the public health order will stay in place. If Boulder County moves back into high or substantial transmission for five consecutive days, the order will again require indoor masking. The public health order remains in effect until rescinded.
Boulder County’s Transmission Status, including if masks are currently required, is posted on Boulder County Public Health’s status page.
Masks are required during substantial and high transmission in all indoor public spaces, including but not limited to public transportation, private and public offices, retail stores, restaurants, bars, event centers, gyms, recreation centers, and manufacturing facilities.
The order does not apply to private homes; however, Boulder County Public Health recommends wearing a mask whenever around individuals from a different household, particularly when at least one individual is not vaccinated.
Boulder County Public Health recommends that businesses and facilities move activities outdoors whenever possible, or increase ventilation by opening windows and doors, running the HVAC, or installing portable air filters. The order does not contain any outdoor mask requirements.
In addition to providing immediate protection, the universal mask order is part of Boulder County Public Health’s proactive layered mitigation strategy to protect the community from severe illness and unnecessary deaths, protect the integrity of our healthcare system so that all individuals may access timely healthcare when needed, and provide stability to our businesses through strategic and early intervention with a masking order without the huge costs associated with capacity restrictions and other orders.
“Only second to vaccination, adoption of a universal mask order is an extremely effective tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and minimize disruptive cycles of reactionary orders, and is particularly important for seeing a rapid shift,” said Camille Rodriguez, BCPH Executive Director. “With a long-term layered mitigation strategy, we have a sustainable and proactive strategy. By adopting a universal mask order now, we can preserve our healthcare system resources, protect the health of our community, and prevent hugely impactful capacity and social distancing restrictions.”
Boulder County recommends wearing a surgical mask, N95, or KN95 when possible, though cloth masks that comply with CDC mask guidance meet the requirements of the order.
The order also allows, with Boulder County Public Health approval, an exception for indoor public masking for employers, owners, and operators who have voluntarily implemented proof of vaccination requirements for all employees, staff, visitors, and patrons entering their facility (commonly known as a vaccination passport).
Business and event owners and operators that have already implemented a proof of vaccination policy for all visitors and employees should contact COVIDbiz@bouldercounty.org for more information on obtaining approval for a masking exception.
Boulder County Public Health will release more information on Voluntary Vaccination Passport program and open the application process in the coming weeks, and owners and operators of facilities and indoor public spaces who wish to apply for this program should monitor https://www.bouldercounty.org/families/disease/covid-19-information/fullyvaccinatedfacilities/ for more information.
For more information and a full list of frequently asked questions about the order, visit Boulder County’s Indoor Mask Order FAQs.
Anyone with questions regarding this order should contact the Boulder County Call Center at 720-776-0822 or view the COVID-19 information on BCPH’s website at BoCo.org/COVID-19.