There has been some vocal criticism of the face covering orders – City and County – but we are seeing businesses across Fort Collins welcome and adopt the rules and most patrons do the same. While the order requires face covering signage be displayed in both English and Spanish, under the City order it is up to individual businesses to decide if they want their patrons to wear face coverings. Businesses may access signs developed by Larimer County Health Department, City of Fort Collins or create their own signs.
Overall, businesses are embracing the opportunity to serve their customers as they open safe and open strong. Responding to the challenges of enforcement is part of why City Council amended the order so businesses have choice in the matter of how they communicate this important public health measure.
Voluntary compliance through education continues to be the expectation. City staff are working to support and educate businesses as to why this is important. Only after an intentional and prolonged violation of signage rules would an establishment possibly be cited. City Code sets a fine of up to $3,000, however, the actual amount of the fine imposed is left to the discretion of the municipal judge. Individuals are not likely to be cited except in an extreme situation.
This order is intended to empower businesses to protect their employees and customers by asking patrons to don a face covering when entering. Direction from the City Manager and the City Council is for City personnel to avoid issuing citations to businesses and individuals if possible. People should not call 911 to report violations of the order and Police Services should only be called in the case of trespass, harassment, assault, etc.
The ordinance allows an individual that has a medical impairment that affects their ability to wear a face covering to provide a note from a healthcare provider in order to exempt them from the face covering requirement, if a business asks them to put one on. The customer does not need to disclose their specific condition or any personal medical information. And during the safer at home phase, susceptible individuals with underlying health conditions should remain at home, as they are more at risk for contracting COVID-19. The note from a healthcare professional is related to the business-customer relationship; it is not something the City is going to ask for in an enforcement capacity, except in an extreme situation. The order is intended to balance recommendations from public health experts that face coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19 with the need of individuals with medical impairments to access businesses.