Masks and face coverings

Photo shows masks

Public Health strongly recommends wearing a mask in public indoor settings — regardless of vaccination status — in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Masks are still required for unvaccinated people or those not fully vaccinated in specific settings outlined in Colorado Public Health Order 20-38, and for everyone within businesses, organizations, agencies or municipalities that request masks be worn, but are optional for those 11 or younger and for those who can’t medically tolerate it.

The state recommends that unvaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mask guidance to recommend fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors when in areas/counties with substantial and high levels of COVID-19 transmission, defined as any county with a seven-day incidence rate greater than 50 cases per 100,000 residents. This includes nearly two-thirds of all U.S. counties, including El Paso County. To access the CDC's updated guidance, go to: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html.

With the advent of the Delta variant, which is the most transmissible variant of concern yet, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Wearing masks is another way to limit the spread of disease, as are other prevention measures like staying home when you are sick, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands frequently. It is the combination of all these prevention measures, when practiced together, that provides the highest level of protection. 

Mask FAQ

Should vaccinated individuals wear masks? 

Many people are wondering whether they should wear masks again when indoors, even if they are fully vaccinated. For many people, the answer is yes, and certainly for those who feel more comfortable wearing one. Fully vaccinated people may choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of disease transmission in the community, especially if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe illness. When making these types of decisions, it’s important to evaluate your own personal risk factors and comfort levels, and the risk of people with whom you live or have close contact. 

Should unvaccinated individuals wear masks? 

Yes. Unvaccinated individuals are at an increased risk for illness and should wear masks. 

Can businesses require masks? 

Businesses have the option to require or recommend employees or customers wear masks, in addition to following any of the preventive measures in their establishments if they choose to. Businesses and individuals are empowered to make the decisions they feel are best for their own personal risks and needs.

The Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center has developed these signs as a resource for businesses

Where are masks still required? 

Masks are still required in certain settings such as hospitals, airplanes, long-term care facilities and airports. 

How to properly select and wear a mask

For those who choose to wear a mask, the CDC has a complete guide on how to properly select and wear a mask. Here are some tips: 

  • Look for masks that have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
  • Mask sure your mask completely covers your nose and mouth 
  • Make sure your mask fits snugly against the sides of your face and doesn't have gaps
  • Be sure to wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection. Be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on a mask, and do not touch your mask when wearing it
  • Wash your mask whenever it gets dirty or at least daily. If you have a disposable face mask, throw it away after wearing it