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Fort Collins extends and updates face covering rule; codifies outdoor dining in public right-of-way

Released on Friday, May 29, 2020
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The City of Fort Collins has updated its mandatory face covering requirement and extended the rule indefinitely under an emergency order signed Thursday evening.

The order applies to most buildings open to the public and has been in effect since May 4. The original order was set to expire May 30.

The order is meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as evidence shows that masks can help reduce transmission along with physical distancing and washing hands frequently and thoroughly.

Slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus helps protect vulnerable populations and helps healthcare facilities respond to the outbreak.

As a reminder, face coverings are required in the following places:

  • Any enclosed area, 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,
  • Any outdoor seating or patio area of a place covered by the order, unless the person is seated for eating or drinking,
  • Any City of Fort Collins building or indoor City facility;
  • Any public transportation, including City Transfort buses and bus shelters; or
  • Any other public indoor place where persons are unable to maintain safe physical distancing (six or more feet of separation) from others not of their own household.

Exemptions to the order include:

  • Persons under 10 years old;
  • Children within a childcare facility;
  • Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition documented by a medical professional;
  • Persons working in an office or other workspace who do not have any face-to-face interactions with or share workspace with other persons;
  • If the person is undergoing a medical or dental procedure that requires access to the person’s mouth or nose;
  • Property owned or operated by the federal, state or county governments;
  • Persons who are customers of banks, financial institutions, and pawn shops (however, employees of these places must still wear face coverings);
  • Persons who are eating or drinking at a restaurant when seated for dining or drinking, however, facial coverings must be worn when not seated for eating or drinking, such as waiting for or picking up food or drinks, walking past other tables or going to restroom facilities; and
  • Individuals participating in indoor gyms, indoor training services or other indoor recreational activities that are complying with applicable state orders, Larimer County directives and a businesses’ policy on when to wear a face covering within the business.

In a case where a county or state order differs from the City’s rule, the stricter version applies.

Prominent signs informing the public of the face covering requirement are still mandatory and must be posted in English and Spanish. Signs are available for businesses to download and use at www.fcgov.com/coronavirus and www.forfortcollins.com.

An infraction of the law could lead to a civil penalty. Those responsible for a business, like an owner or manager, can require someone who refuses to wear a face covering to leave the premises, but they will not face penalties under the City order for allowing someone to remain without a face covering.

Face coverings that meet the City’s requirements must cover the nose and mouth and remain affixed without the use of hands. Examples include bandanas, medical masks, cloth masks, and gaiters. The public is discouraged from acquiring healthcare-grade or industrial-grade masks that would be used by healthcare workers.

Businesses must also make reasonable efforts to obtain and provide face coverings for employees.

Violations of the face covering policy may be reported online at www.fcgov.com/accessfortcollins or by calling 970-416-2200. Do not call 911 to report a violation.

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In addition to the update to the face covering order, City Manager Darin Atteberry also signed an emergency order authorizing “outdoor expansion permits” for the creation of dining and retail areas in the public right of way, such as sidewalks and parking spots.

The City has been proactively preparing for this change and has already received application requests from a number of local businesses in advance of the order.

The earlier press release on this subject can be found at https://www.fcgov.com/news/?id=7771.

A document with frequently asked questions about the outdoor dining areas is attached to this press release. That document and other information is available online at www.fcgov.com/business and www.forfortcollins.com under “Resources.”

The application for businesses can be found at www.fcgov.com/outdoordiningapplication.

Additional questions should be directed to the Fort Collins Engineering Department at ZW5naW5lZXJpbmdAZmNnb3YuY29t.

Both the updated face covering order and the outdoor dining order are attached to this press release.

For more information about the City’s response to COVID-19, visit fcgov.com/coronavirus.

Business resources related to COVID-19 can be found at www.forfortcollins.com.

Community outreach and resources related to COVID-19 can be found at ourcity.fcgov.com/forfoco.