With Denver’s COVID-19 case numbers rising for three consecutive weeks, Mayor Michael B. Hancock recently announced new public health measures that require people to wear face coverings in more settings and reduce the number of people who can gather from 10 to five.
The tougher mask mandate is effective immediately until further notice, and the reduced gathering order is effective through Nov. 16.
“Over the past several weeks, we have worked hard to reduce our caseloads and keep hospitalizations from increasing,” Mayor Hancock said. “But we need to do more. With the holidays on the horizon, we must take these additional steps over the next 30 days and knuckle down together to do the hard work that needs to be done so we can all enjoy this upcoming holiday season.”
“If we don’t, we likely will fall backwards on the state’s Safer at Home dial to Level 3, and that would be devastating to our economy,” the Mayor added. “We are working to strike a balance between keeping people healthy and keeping Denver’s economy alive.”
The new orders do not apply to people living in the same household or if they are alone. Face coverings must now be worn when outdoors with people other than those from the same household when social distancing is not possible. And the number of people allowed to gather in unregulated settings is reduced from 10 to five. The goal is that the public will adhere to the new limit of five people during private gatherings at home, when spending time in parks and in other settings in order to avoid more restrictive measures.
An example of when to wear a face covering outside is walking to lunch with a friend or co-worker not living with you. However, if you are alone or with a member of your household, face coverings are not required. Pickup basketball games, for example, will now be limited to five players and all players who do not live together must wear face coverings. This does not apply to organized sports because of mandated provisions already guiding these activities.
Similarly, in restaurant settings, 10 people from different households may continue to sit together because this activity falls under the State public health orders, where restaurants must already have protective criteria in place—such as only being able to take off face coverings when seated and specific sanitation measures. These safeguards don’t exist in unregulated settings, like parks.
Increased use of face coverings and increased physical distancing are common-sense, proven tools in our fight to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and these measures don’t impact the economy. Denver’s public health experts have been closely monitoring trends, and Denver’s case numbers are higher than they’ve ever been.
“We have a responsibility to our community to enact reasonable measures that can temper the rising numbers,” said Robert McDonald, executive director of the Denver Public Health and Environment and the city’s public health administrator. “If we work together now and follow these basic rules, we hope to decrease and stabilize our case numbers. This is how we keep our businesses and restaurants open and our community safe. If we are successful, we will hopefully enjoy more freedoms and less fear during the upcoming holidays.”
Wearing a face covering will help to protect the people around you if you are infected and do not know it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that people wear a face covering in public to limit the spread of respiratory droplets, especially in situations where social distancing is hard to maintain.
Physical distancing is a known prevention method to slow the person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent the novel coronavirus, so the best way to prevent illness from COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to it. Face coverings, along with other measures, like frequent hand-washing and social distancing, work together to slow the spread.
Visit Denver’s testing web page for updated info about community-based sites and hours. For more information and to read the latest update to Denver’s public health orders, visit our www.denvergov.org/covid19.
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