More Details About Public Health Order Mandating Face Coverings for Critical Businesses

April 24, 2020 – On Wednesday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued an order pursuant to the Governor’s director requiring that workers in critical businesses and critical government functions wear non-medical face coverings in response to thousands of confirmed and presumptive cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) an related deaths across the state of Colorado.

The order states, “there is substantial evidence of community spread of COVID-19 throughout the State, it is crucial to take measures now that can mitigate further spread of disease in our communities.”

On March 11, 2020 Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order declaring a disaster emergency in Colorado due to the presence of COVID-19. Since that time, the Governor has taken numerous steps to implement measures to mitigate the spread of disease within Colorado, and has further required that several public health orders be issued to implement his orders.

CDPHE issued public health orders pertaining to the limitation of visitors and nonessential individuals in skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, and assisted living residences; closing bars and restaurants to in-person services; and defining the terms of the Governor’s stay at home requirements and critical business designations.

Officials say the orders are “concert to reduce the exposure of individuals to disease, and are necessary steps to protect thehealth and welfare of the public. Additionally, in reducing the spread of disease, these requirements help to preserve the medical resources needed for those in our communities who fall ill and require medical treatment, thus protecting both the ill patients and the healthcare workers who courageously continue to treat patients.

“As many employees of Critical Businesses and Critical Government Functions serve in public-facing roles, in doing these jobs, they are risking that they may become ill through contact with others, and also that if they are ill and they may not know it, they may infect others. To protect against further spread of disease, Governor Polis has ordered that all workers in Critical Businesses and Critical Government Functions where workers interact in close proximity with other employees or with the public wear medical or non-medical cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth while working, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health, and also, to the extent possible, wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods if gloves are provided to workers by their employer.”


I. Face Coverings. All employees of Critical Businesses or performing Critical Government Functions who work in close proximity to other employees or with the public shall wear a medical or non-medical face covering to help prevent the spread of disease. Employers who operate Critical Businesses or manage Critical Government Functions should make every effort to provide their workforce with medical or non-medical face coverings. Unless working in a healthcare setting, employers should provide non-medical face coverings for their employees.

Employers shall make every effort to assign employees who cannot wear face coverings for health or safety reasons to perform work that does not bring the worker into close proximity with other employees or the public.

A. Workers who may routinely or consistently come within 6 feet of other workers or the public are considered to be in close proximity to others and must wear a medical or non-medical face covering that covers the worker’s nose and mouth, unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health. Workers with health issues that preclude them from wearing a face covering must document those concerns with their employer.

B. A worker may use a face covering provided by their employer, if available, or may choose to use their own face covering. Cloth face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathingwithout restriction, and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape. Face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth at all times and should remain in place until taken off safely. If a worker’s face covering moves during work, it needs to be replaced with one that does not need to be frequently adjusted to reduce touching of the face. Workers should replace face coverings when theirs becomes dirty, wet, and/or difficult to breathe through.

C. Workers who prepare or handle food that will be made available to the public for purchase, such as restaurant or grocery store workers, must wear a face covering while performing tasks involving food preparation and handling.

D. As directed in Executive Order D 2020 039, workers in the congregate care settings identified in Amended Public Health Order 20-20, and all third parties entering congregate care settings must wear face coverings in the workplace.

II. Gloves. All employees of Critical Businesses or performing Critical Government

Functions who come into contact with customers or goods should wear gloves, if gloves are

provided by their employer . Employees in food and child care industries shall minimally utilize

disposable gloves as normally required by their governing regulations. Employees that are involved with disinfecting equipment and surfaces within critical business and/or have direct contact with customers shall wear gloves when involved in these activities.

III. Enforcement. This order will be enforced by any appropriate legal means. Local authorities are encouraged to determine the best course of action to encourage maximum compliance. Failure to comply with this order could result in penalties including a fine of up to one thousand (1,000) dollars and imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, pursuant to 25-1-114, C.R.S. will continue to be in effect until 11:59 p.m. on May 17, 2020, unless extended, rescinded,circumstance is held to be invalid, the reminder of the PHO, including the application of such part or provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected and shall continue in full force and effect. To this end, the provisions of this PHO are severable.

VII. Duration. This PHO shall become effective at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday April 23, 2020 and will continue to be in effect until 11:59 p.m. on May 17, 2020, unless extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing.
Critical Business. ​Any business, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of its corporate structure, engaged in any of the commercial, manufacturing, or service activities listed below, may continue to operate as normal. ​

Critical Businesses​ must comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the CDPHE and any applicable local health department. ​

Critical Businesses​ must comply with Social Distancing Requirements​ and all PHOs currently in effect to the greatest extent possible and will be held accountable for doing so. ​Critical Businesses​ do NOT include health clubs as defined in C.R.S. § 6-1-102(4.6), fitness and exercise gyms, and similar facilities, or any of the other businesses required to close by PHO 20-22.“​
Critical Business​” means:

  1. Healthcare Operations, Including:
    ● Hospitals, clinics, and walk-in health facilities
    ● Medical and dental care, including ambulatory providers
    ● Research and laboratory services
    ● Medical wholesale and distribution
    ● Home health care companies, workers and aides
    ● Pharmacies
    ● Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
    ● Behavioral health care providers
    ● Veterinary care and livestock services
    ● Nursing homes, residential health care, or congregate care facilities
    Amended Public Health Order 20-24 – Medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers, including durable medical equipment technicians and suppliers
    ● Blood banks
  2. Critical Infrastructure, Including:
    ● Utilities and ​electricity, including generation, transmission, distribution and fuel supply
    ● Road and railways
    ● Oil and gas extraction, production, refining, storage, transport anddistribution
    ● Public water and wastewater
    ● Telecommunications and data centers
    ● Transportation and infrastructure necessary to support critical businesses
    ● Hotels, and places of accommodation
    ● Businesses and organizations that provide food, shelter, social services,and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged, persons withaccess and functional needs, or otherwise needy individuals
    ● Food and plant cultivation, including farming crops, livestock, foodprocessing and manufacturing, animal feed and feed products, rendering, commodity sales, and any other work critical to the operation of any component of the food supply chain
    ● Any business that produces products critical or incidental to the construction or operation of the categories of products included in this subsection 3.
    Critical Manufacturing, Including:
    ● Food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
    ● Chemicals
    ● Computers and computer components
    ● Medical equipment, components used in any medical device, supplies orinstruments
    ● Pharmaceuticals
    ● Sanitary products
    ● Telecommunications
    ● Microelectronics/semiconductor
    ● Agriculture/farms
    ● Household paper products
    Amended Public Health Order 20-24
    ● Any business that produces products critical or incidental to the processing, functioning, development, manufacture, packaging, or delivery of any of the categories of products included in this subsection
    ● ​Any manufacturing necessary to support a ​Critical Business
  3. Critical Retail, Including:
    ● Grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
    ● Farm and produce stands
    ● Gas stations and convenience stores
    ● Restaurants and bars (for take-out/delivery only as necessary underExecutive Order D 2020 011​ and ​PHO 20-22​, as amended)
    ● Marijuana dispensary (only for the sale of medical marijuana or curbsidedelivery pursuant to ​Executive Order D 2020 011​)
    ● Firearms stores
    ● Hardware, farm supply, and building material stores
    ● Establishments engaged in the retail sale of food and any other householdconsumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products)
    ● Establishments engaged in the sale of products that support working fromhome
  4. Critical Services, Including:
    ● Trash, compost, and recycling collection, processing and disposal
    ● Mail and shipping services, and locations that offer P.O. boxes
    ● Self-serve laundromats and garment and linen cleaning services for criticalbusinesses
    ● Building cleaning and maintenance
    ● Child care services
    ● Automobile rental, auto supply and repair (including retail dealerships thatinclude repair and maintenance, but not retail sales)
    ● Warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, including freight distributors
    ● Funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries
    ● In-person pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need ofend of life services provided social distancing is observed to the greatestextent possible
    ● Storage for ​Critical Businesses
    ● Animal shelters, animal boarding services, animal rescues, zoologicalfacilities, animal sanctuaries, and other related facilities
  5. News Media
    ● Newspapers
    ● Television
    ● Radio
    ● Other media services
  6. Financial Institutions, Including:
    ● Banks and credit institutions
    ● Insurance, payroll, and accounting services
    ● Services related to financial markets8. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, Including:
    ● Homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
    ● Food banks
    ● Human services providers whose function includes the direct care ofpatients in State-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in State-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support
  7. Construction, Including:
    ● Housing and housing for low-income and vulnerable people
    ● Skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
    ● Other related firms and professionals for who provide services necessaryto maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences, and other essential services
  8. Defense
    ● Defense, security, and intelligence-related operations supporting the State of Colorado, local government, the U.S. Government or a contractor for any of the foregoing
    ● Aerospace operations
    Amended Public Health Order 20-24
    ● Military operations and personnel
    ● Defense suppliers
  9. Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences or Other Critical Businesses, Including:
    ● Law enforcement
    ● Fire prevention and response
    ● Building code enforcement
    ● Security
    ● Emergency management and response
    ● Building cleaners or janitors
    ● General maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
    ● Automotive repair
    ● Disinfection
    ● Snow removal
  10. Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:
    ● Logistics
    ● Technology support for online and telephone services
    ● Child care programs and services
    ● Government owned or leased buildings
    ● Critical Government Functions
    D​. Critical Government Functions​. The provision, operation and support of the following government functions shall continue:1. Critical services, including
    ● Public safety (police stations, fire and rescue stations, correctionalinstitutions, emergency vehicle and equipment storage, and, emergencyoperation centers)
    ● Emergency response
    ● Judicial branch operations, including attorneys if necessary for ongoingtrials and required court appearances, unless appearances can be doneremotely
    ● Emergency medical (hospitals, ambulance service centers, urgent carecenters having emergency treatment functions, and non-ambulatory surgical structures but excluding clinics, doctors offices, and non-urgent care medical structures that do not provide these functions)
    Amended Public Health Order 20-24
    ● Designated emergency shelters
    ● Communications (main hubs for telephone, broadcasting equipment forcable systems, satellite dish systems, cellular systems, television, radio, and other emergency warning systems, but excluding towers, poles, lines, cables, and conduits)
    ● Public utility plant facilities for generation and distribution (hubs, treatment plants, substations and pumping stations for water, power and gas, but not including towers, poles, power lines, buried pipelines, transmission lines, distribution lines, and service lines)
    ● Transportation. Airlines, taxis, transportation network providers (such as Uber and Lyft), vehicle rental services, paratransit, and other private, public, and commercial transportation and logistics providers necessary for ​Necessary Activities
    ● Transportation infrastructure (aviation control towers, air traffic control centers, and emergency equipment aircraft hangars), critical road construction and maintenance
    ● Hazardous material safety
    ● Services to at-risk populations and ​Vulnerable Individuals
    ● Any government service required for the public health and safety,government functionality, or vital to restoring normal services

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Jenny Paulson is the publisher and editor of Pueblo Independent Magazine and can be contacted for more information about Pueblo Magazine, editorial content, marketing, website design and other services.