Editor's Note: On May 14, Gov. Polis announced that the mask mandate is essentially over for people who have been fully vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, the state will continue to “suggest” that you wear a mask when indoor around strangers. Here's the latest:
- May 14: The Colorado Mask Mandate Is Over For People Who Are Fully Vaccinated
- May 14: The CDC Says Fully Vaccinated People Don’t Need Masks Anymore. Here’s What That Means In Colorado
- May 13: Don’t Throw Away Your Mask Yet: New CDC Recommendation Won’t Immediately Impact Colorado
- May 3: COVID In Colorado: Looser Mask Mandates, Vaccine Walk-Ins And Rising Cases
Our original story continues below.
On Friday, April 2, Gov. Jared Polis announced by executive order that nearly half of Colorado's counties will be freed from the state's comprehensive mask mandate, based on low enough COVID incidence levels. The order releases counties under 35 COVID cases per week per 100,000 people (also known as "green" on the now-defunct COVID dial) from the state's sweeping indoor mask order.
But here's where things get a little confusing: On Friday, April 16, Colorado retired its COVID restrictions dial — which means the state will turn most restrictions over to counties and local governments. Now, it's up to each county to set and enforce its own orders. Some are still keeping some form of the dial — with indoor mask restrictions — and some are abandoning restrictions all together.
Is there a statewide mask mandate right now in Colorado?
Yes, but it's not the same as it used to be.
In July 2020, Gov. Jared Polis signed Colorado's first statewide mask order, requiring masks to be worn in all public spaces. Polis has extended the order every 30 days since then. Some counties, like Denver, opted for stricter mask rules — like mask-wearing outdoors — at times when COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations were on the rise.
On April 2, Gov, Polis released counties under 35 COVID cases per week per 100,000 people from the mask mandate. And on April 16, Gov. Polis retired the state's way of managing restrictions, and put counties in charge of creating their own rules. Right now, some have indoor mask mandates, and some don't.
However, regardless of what a county's individual rules around masks are, a statewide mandate is still in effect, but it's greatly modified. It now only applies to schools, child care, health care settings, personal services like hairdressers or manicurists and public areas in government buildings. More on that below.
Where do I no longer need to wear a mask in Colorado?
As of April 16, these counties have indicated that they will not be instituting face mask restrictions.
- Kit Carson
- Rio Blanco
- Rio Grande
Make sure to check your city or state's website to see where things stand.
This list was last updated at 1:30 p.m. on April 16 and may be subject to change.
Where do I still need to wear a mask in Colorado?
If your county is not included in the list above, it's likely that your county has an indoor mask rule that says masks must continue to be worn when in public indoor spaces with 10 or more people who have not been vaccinated, or whose vaccination status is unknown. Check with your county to see what the rules near you are.
Even if your county has no mask restrictions, masks are still mandatory in the following places, per the state:
- Child care centers
- Indoor children's camps
- Public-facing government facilities
- Emergency medical and other health care settings (like hospitals, urgent care facilities, clinics and doctors offices)
- Personal services (like hair and nail salons, barbershops, esthetician services, tattoo shops)
The latest updates on masks, vaccines and COVID in Colorado
- April 16: Colorado COVID Mandates Are Over. Now, It’s Up To You And The County You Live In
- April 15: After a Colorado Springs COVID Vaccine Clinic Closed, State Plans More Onsite Inspections
- April 14: Already Got The Now-Paused Johnson & Johnson Vaccine? Here’s What You Should Know
- April 13: Colorado Puts Vaccine From Johnson & Johnson On Hold — Here’s What To Know As It’s Under Investigation
- Your always up-to-date Colorado vaccine guide
- How to make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Denver
You are one of the CPR readers who wants to know what is really going on these days. We can help you keep up - The Lookout is a free, daily email newsletter with news and happenings from all over Colorado. Sign up here and we will see you in the morning!