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Emergency Preparedness and Security

Face Covering Order: Frequently Asked Questions#

What is a face covering?highlight_off

A face covering means a piece of material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains in place without the use of one’s hands. Face Coverings include, but are not limited to, bandanas, medical masks, cloth masks and gaiters. Sew and no sew cloth face coverings here.


Why should I wear a face covering?highlight_off

Washing hands, maintaining physical distance, staying home as much as possible, and wearing a face covering properly when in public are all effective ways to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Larimer County Health Department recommend the widespread use of face coverings as a mechanism to slow the spread because the primary transmission of COVID-19 is now known to be by respiratory droplets, and the transmission largely occurs in the first seven days after infection, when people often do not show signs of being sick. 

When am I required to wear a face covering?highlight_off

You should wear a face covering when entering and while inside: 

  1. Any public enclosed area or adjacent patio, including retail and commercial businesses or on-site service providers, to which the public is invited or in which workers, including volunteers, from more than one household are present. 
  2. Any City of Fort Collins building or facility. 
  3. Any public transportation, including City Transfort buses. 
  4. Any other public indoor place where persons are unable to maintain safe social distancing (six or more feet separation) from others not of their own household. 

Updated exceptions as of May 28, 2020 include individuals who are eating or drinking at a restaurant when seated for dining, or participating in indoor recreation activities; patrons must still wear a face covering while entering, waiting or in other parts of these businesses where face coverings are required by County, State or business-specific directives.

Should I wear a face covering at work?highlight_off

Employees of retail and commercial businesses or on-site service providers, to which the public is invited must wear face coverings. This includes all City of Fort Collins employees who interact with others in City buildings and facilities, as well as any public transportation workers. 

Does my child need to wear a face covering?highlight_off

Per the Larimer County Public Health Order, children under the age of two are not required to wear a face covering. Childcare facilities should continue to follow state guidelines. 

Do I need to wear a face covering if I have an existing health condition?highlight_off

If a face covering would cause you impairment due to an existing health condition, documented by a medical professional, you are not required to wear a mask. 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. 

Does wearing a face covering mean I can now go about my life as usual?highlight_off

No, face coverings can help reduce the chance of you spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others but do not completely protect anyone. Please continue to follow State and County Safer At Home guidelines, observe physical distance rules, and make sure the wash hands frequently and thoroughly. These efforts, in combination with a well-fitting face covering when you have to go in public, are shown to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  

What if someone isn't wearing a face covering?highlight_off

We recognize that there are unique historic and cultural concerns about face covering requirements for some communities, particularly people of color, as well as trans and non-binary community members. Please have compassion for people who may choose not to wear a face covering for fear of discrimination, and do your part to help create a safe environment for all in our community.

Wearing a facial covering is no cause for profiling, discrimination or removal from public areas. We're all in this together, and through compassion and understanding, we can help strengthen our community and keep each other safer.

How do I know if my face covering fits?highlight_off

Following the Centers for Disease Control guidance, the public is strongly encouraged to wear cloth face coverings that: 

  • Fit snug and comfortably against the side of the face; 
  • Are secured with ties or ear loops; 
  • Include multiple layers of fabric; 
  • Allow for breathing without restriction; and 
  • Are able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape. 

Information on making such masks can be found at:

How do I wash my face covering?highlight_off

Below are instructions from the CDC for washing and drying your face covering:

Washing Machine

  • You can include your face covering with your regular laundry.
  • Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.

Washing by Hand

  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or
    • 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water
  • Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
  • Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.

Make sure to completely dry cloth face covering after washing.


  • Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry

Air Dry

  • Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.
How will this be enforced?highlight_off

This order is intended to make it clear how important face coverings are for the health and safety of our community. In the event of an intentional and sustained violation, there are possible penalties.   

Code Compliance officers have the authority to follow up on reported or observed violations, however, as with all forms of compliance work in Fort Collins, officers will take an education-first approach.

A visitor to a business or service provider who does not wear a face covering may be asked to put one on by an employee and if they refuse must leave the premises.  

What are the penalties if the Face Covering Order is not followed?highlight_off

If you are asked to wear a face covering or to leave the property, and you refuse to do either, you can be cited for a violation of City Code. Businesses and on-site service providers that do not display required signage are in violation of City Code. 

How do I report a violation?highlight_off

Please do not call 911 to report violations of this emergency rule. Concerns about businesses not enforcing the mask requirement can be submitted to Larimer County Health. You can also report suspected violations of this emergency rule at or by calling (970)-416-2200.