Masks & Your Business: Colorado Mask Order

Jul 18, 2020

On Thursday, July 16, 2020, Governor Jared Polis implemented a 30-day statewide mask order in the state of Colorado (there is a possibility of extension).  This order impacts every way we conduct business, work with our employees and serve your customers. There are a number of considerations that you need to apply when staying compliant.  Read on to learn how to apply this order to your business operations.

There is significant debate about the mask order and deep-rooted feelings for and against this order.  As you maneuver through implementing and staying compliant with this order, you will encounter these perspectives.  No matter what your personal thoughts are, it is important to know what is expected of you as a business owner.  Without further ado, let's dive right in.  

Your Working Environment:

Within the Colorado mask order, you do have to be mindful of when your staff must wear a mask.  You and your team are required to wear a mask when:

  • Working with the public 
  • Entering and exiting your business
  • In common areas
  • Within 6 ft of anyone

Although, we can not find anything that explicitly states this.  It is our assumption that employees can remove their masks when working in private areas (i.e. private offices) or socially distanced (with the exception of working with customers).  If we learn otherwise, we will update this blog.  

In addition to the above requirements, we recommend that you download and communicate HR Branches COVID-19 Operations and Safety Policy.  This is extremely helpful in setting and communicating expectations to employees.



You are required to post signs, notifying the public that masks are required at all entrances.  Click HERE to download a printable poster now.


Refusing Service

As an operational business, you are also required to refuse service to anyone entering your business without a mask.  It is likely that you and your staff may have to refuse service to someone. 

We have all seen the YouTube videos of mask confrontations that turn ugly.  Don't let your business get highlighted on one of these videos. 

To make sure that refusal of service does not turn ugly, here are a few tips to keep a peaceful and positive environment for all. 

  • Politely ask if a person not wearing a mask has an exemption (more on this below)
  • If they are not exempt from the state requirements, explain that you are required to ensure that all patrons wear a mask and that you would appreciate their understanding and participation
  • Keep extra masks on hand to provide to people who may not have one on them
  • Offer to get what the individual needs as they wait outside
  • Stay calm and try your best to understand their perspective and find a solution that keeps you compliant while meeting their needs
  • Do not physically touch the individual
  • Do not raise your voice
  • Train your employees!!!



Below is a list of the exemptions that do apply to this executive order.  Please keep in mind that they are a special courtesy and legal considerations that you and your staff need to be aware of. 

  • People who cannot medically tolerate a face covering
    • Additional considerations - If a patron informs you that they have a medical condition, you have to take them for their word and accept the exemption.  You can not ask what their medical condition is.  This is a violation of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).  HIPAA ensures the confidentiality of medical information.  We do suggest that you politely request that the unmasked patron ensure that they keep 6 ft social distancing practices while on-premises.
    • This also includes hearing-impaired or otherwise disabled or who is communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication.
  • People who are 10 years old and younger
    • Additional considerations - Do not assume that you can tell a child's age just by looking at them.  We strongly advise that you trust a parent to be truthful about their child's age.  If they say that their child is 10 or younger, take their word for it.  
  • Children ages 2 and under should NOT wear masks or cloth face coverings.
    • Additional considerations - See above

In addition to the above exemption, there are particular situations when people do not have to wear a mask.  When people are engaged in the below activities, they'd not have to wear a mask:

  • Seated at a food service establishment
    • Additional considerations - Patrons must wear a face covering while in transit (walking to and from seating and restrooms, or otherwise moving about)
  • Exercising alone or with others from the individual’s household, and a face covering would interfere with the activity
  • Receiving a personal service where the temporary removal of the face-covering is necessary to perform the service
  • Entering a business or receiving services and are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes
  • Are actively engaged in a public safety role such as law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel
  • Officiating at a religious service
  • Giving a speech for broadcast or an audience


Talk to an Expert

Applying the above practices will vary, depending on your business and industry.  We highly recommend that you speak with an expert to best understand how you can maintain compliance with this new order.  Schedule a FREE consult with HR Branches today and keep your business rolling along the right path.


Disclaimer: HR Branches provides general information about Human Resources. Please note that the information provided, while reliable, is not legal advice. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make sure your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location and circumstances. The purpose of this information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance on general HR matters.


Colorado Department of Health-


HR Branches Mask Sign-

HR Branches COVID-19 Operations & Safety Policy-

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