Jennifer Hefty, Fort Collins Coloradoan
Published 5:09 p.m. MT May 19, 2020
There is a correct way to wear your face covering. Following these few simple CDC tips to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Larimer County has amended its public health order requiring employees and customers to wear face coverings when entering a business.
While the new order relaxes some of the initial guidelines, it does not remove the requirement for mask-wearing entirely.
Businesses that interact with the public will still be required to ensure all customers are wearing masks unless they have submitted a checklist that promotes additional social distancing to the county health department.
If a business does not complete the checklist or cannot implement additional social distancing practices, masks will still be required in the facility. Businesses can also still choose to require masks despite the new guidelines.
Additional social distancing measures include a plexiglass shield at point of sale areas; one-way aisles; extra cleaning and sanitization of high-touch surfaces; and clearly marking 6 foot separation for customers in areas where lines form.
Personal service businesses — like hair salons — will not be allowed to ask for an exemption and mask-wearing will still be required for employees and customers due to state regulations and the fact that social distancing cannot be maintained while clients receive services.
More: Tracking Coronavirus in Colorado: Small uptick in Larimer cases Tuesday
Additionally, the amended order recommends that children over the age of 2 wear masks and practice social distancing to the best of their ability. The new order does not apply to children younger than the age of 2 or adults who have a health condition in which a mask would inhibit their ability to breathe.
The order also does not apply to anyone working in a location where they will not be within 6 feet of others or to those who work in a professional office who do not have any face-to-face interactions with the public.
Still, Public Health Director Tom Gonzales told county commissioners last week that mask-wearing is making a difference in the county.
“When you wear this, you’re protecting others,” he said while holding up a face mask.
However, the health department acknowledged that they do not want businesses to have to confront customers about the order.
Fort Collins leaders have said they plan to stay the course on the city’s policy requiring people to wear masks inside businesses to prevent the spread of coronavirus, despite the county’s changing guidance.
Fort Collins’ mask policy can be more stringent than the county’s but not less, so this means the changes to the county mask requirement will primarily affect the county outside of Fort Collins city limits. Estes Park also has its own face covering requirement.
More: Larimer County wants lighter coronavirus restrictions. See the plan for gyms, restaurants and more
Several council members said they’re concerned the county policy change will create more confusion about face covering requirements, and they continued to back Fort Collins’ more rigorous policy. Both the city and county mask requirements last through May 30 and may be extended.
Fort Collins’ face covering requirement applies to people inside businesses, city buildings, public transportation and any other public indoor space where people can’t maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and others who aren’t members of the same household.
Editor’s note: As the coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve, we don’t want you to panic. In fact, quite the opposite. That’s why the Coloradoan is committed to providing you with accurate, up-to-date information so you can make informed decisions on issues affecting you and the people you love. As such, this story, and many others, are being provided free for all to read. Help us continue this important work by subscribing to the Coloradoan.
Coloradoan reporter Jacy Marmaduke and content coach Rebecca Powell contributed to this report.
Jennifer Hefty is an editor at the Coloradoan. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @jenniferhefty. Support her work and the work of the Coloradoan’s 15 other journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.
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