Ongoing mitigation guidance

Last updated June 9, 2021.

Available languages: Español 

On April 16, the COVID-19 Dial evolved into Public Health Order 20-38: Limited COVID-19 Restrictions, which allows counties to implement regulations at the local level while still maintaining some limited requirements across the state. Counties may use the statewide dial framework as a model for implementing their own regulations.

CDPHE may require counties whose resident hospitalizations threaten to exceed 85% of hospital or hospital system capacity to implement additional restrictions to mitigate disease transmission.

Recommended ongoing mitigation guidance

While the following guidance is not required under the public health order, the state still strongly recommends that businesses and other entities follow best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

Indoor guidance

Some counties may have local capacity limits for indoor activities. Consult your local public health agency for more information.

Seated activities
  • Seated activities should ensure 6 feet of distance between parties from different households.
Unseated activities
  • Use the distancing calculator to encourage 6 feet of distance between people from different households.

If an event involves both a seated and an unseated portion, it should calculate capacity for the non-seated portion using the Social Distancing Space Calculator.

Indoor activities involving forced exhalation
  • Because of the increased risk of transmission associated with forced exhalation, masks and distancing are particularly important for unvaccinated people in this context. It is recommended for those engaged in forced exhalation activities to bring multiple spare masks to replace sweaty masks as needed.
  • Masks should not be worn in the following circumstances: 
    • Aquatics/swimming, where a wet mask would be a choking hazard; 
    • Wrestling, where a mask could easily be caught or dislodged; 
    • Gymnastics (including) Spirit, only during high-intensity maneuvers where the mask might get caught or dislodged; 
    • Athletes in professional league sports as approved by CDPHE while competing or practicing those sports; 
    • In a school setting for limited purpose of playing an instrument that cannot otherwise by played while wearing a face covering; 
    • When someone is giving a speech (for broadcast, religious service, or life rights) or other similar performance as permitted by the public health order. The person giving the speech should be 25 feet away from others.
  • Performers: 
    • If the performer is wearing a mask, performances with vocal speech or singing, wind or brass instruments, or activities that cause heavy breathing should be 12 feet from patrons. 
    • If the performer is unmasked, 25 feet of distance is recommended. 
    • Participants (e.g., players, performers, actors, competitors, entertainers, etc.) in events should have their symptoms checked before participating. Participants who have been in close contact with an exposed or symptomatic person should not participate and should self-quarantine. 
    • Adopt seating and spacing modifications to increase physical distance from a performer. 
    • Where necessary, install barriers to minimize travel of aerosolized particles from performers, or implement alternative placement of performers. 
    • Maximize physical spacing between performers on-stage. 
    • Performers should use a separate entrance/exit than patrons where possible.
  • Fully vaccinated people can go without masks in most settings, unless masks are required by a local community or business.
  • Unvaccinated people over age 12 are encouraged to continue wearing masks in all public indoor spaces where members of different households are present.
  • Masks are still required in certain settings, including in schools for unvaccinated students, teachers, and staff.
  • Local communities or businesses may have additional mask requirements.
  • For more information, visit our mask guidance webpage.
Organizing a space to reduce risk
  • Create a queue at entrances that encourages 6 feet of physical distancing between individuals. Pace entry to prevent congestion.
  • Operate on a one-in-one-out basis when at capacity.
  • Remind patrons to observe 6 feet of physical distancing before, during, and after events and activities.
  • Post signage with easy-to-interpret graphics in commonly used languages reminding everyone to maintain 6 feet of distance, wear masks if unvaccinated, wash hands, etc.
  • Establish single-direction traffic flow in and out of large venues and seating areas. Consider separate entrances and exits.
  • Enhance cleaning of common touch points (doors, stairwell handles, light switch, elevator switch, etc.). (CDC cleaning guidance)
  • Ensure ventilation at the venue is in line with or exceeds OSHA guidance, if applicable.
  • If OSHA guidance is not applicable, maximize ventilation by using fans and opening windows, wherever possible.
  • Install touchless hand sanitizing stations at entrances and in high-traffic areas.
  • Deploy plexiglass barriers where appropriate, for example, at checkout stations.
  • Lower or turn off volume on any audio system when possible to reduce the need to speak loudly as forced exhalation increases the risk of transmission
  • Provide dedicated visit hours, events, or services for people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, as possible.
Common/shared spaces
  • Surfaces should be routinely cleaned. Take actions, such as closing off a series of lockers, to promote physical distancing and reduce gatherings.
  • Break rooms should have adequate space to allow physical distancing of at least 6 feet between individuals who are on their breaks at the same time. Reducing the number of chairs in break rooms or around tables can encourage less congregating.
  • Break areas should include handwashing/sanitizing facilities, particularly if break times are used by workers for eating, smoking, and/or tobacco use where hand-to-mouth contact will occur more frequently. 
  • If applicable, additional clock-in/clock-out stations for any employees should be installed to reduce congregation at shift changes.
  • Booths or vendors at events should:
    • Allow spacing for vendor load-in and loadout such that vendors and staff can maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from each other as much as possible.
      • Add a minimum of 6 feet in between booths.
      • Create a single line of booths instead of double rows. If this is not possible, create at least a 10 feet thoroughfare between the two sides allowing for a single file, one-way path down the middle.  
      • Encourage vendors to have market booth layouts that promote social distancing. Provide them with the space to do this. 
      • Create one-way traffic flow through the booths to prevent crowding or mingling.
      • Use ropes, cones or tape to define the entrance, exit and flow.
Contact tracing and additional risk reduction 
  • Collect contact information of guests or attendees through tactics like taking reservations, requiring RSVPs, or having sign-in sheets, and times of arrival and departure to help with potential exposure notification whenever possible.
  • Use a reservation system or use pre-existing electronic capacity monitoring systems if feasible to space out and limit participants gathered at one time.
  • Provide generous and flexible cancellation policies so that if guests start experiencing symptoms, they can cancel.

Outdoor guidance

This guidance is intended to address risk reduction for all activities, businesses, and gatherings within any outdoor space.

  • Each county determines local capacity restrictions for outdoor events and activities. For more information about local capacity limits, contact your local public health agency.
Physical distancing
  • Encourage people to keep at least 6 feet of physical distance from people outside of their households if they are unvaccinated.
  • Masks are recommended for unvaccinated people, especially when it’s not possible to keep 6 feet of distance from others. Some outdoor venues may require mask-wearing. Please check to see if there are local orders in your area that require masks in outdoor settings.
Organized activities and events
  • Event organizers and venues should establish single-direction traffic flow and separate entrances and exits in and out of the venue, activity areas, and seating areas in order to reduce contact between non-household members. 
  • If an event involves spectators, spectators should remain at least 12 feet from performers/athletes/etc. at all times. 
  • If there are multiple activities occurring in an outdoor area, such as multiple games with spectators, or separate areas like a rodeo ring and a petting zoo at the same event, then those separate activities should occur in separate areas that are separated by 50 feet. Individuals at each activity should not mix or mingle with individuals from another designated activity area.
  • Multiple sports games occurring at the same complex do not need to be distanced 50 feet apart if there are no spectators. Only one activity should take place per designated area at a time.
Extreme weather and other emergencies
  • In the case of an extreme weather event, injury, or other emergency, an outdoor facility or area may prioritize the immediate safety and sheltering needs of guests and staff when in conflict with this guidance. 
  • In the case of such an emergency, the outdoor facility should consider how to collect the contact information of guests and staff who shelter together in one space to ensure contact tracing ability. 
  • The outdoor facility should coordinate with their LPHA when there is a need to shelter individuals in the event of an emergency. The facility should report the date, time, duration, event type, location(s), individuals impacted/included, and any other relevant details of the event. 
  • During the emergency, public health protocols should be followed to the greatest extent possible.

The state’s primary goal has always been to keep the statewide hospital system from being overwhelmed. People age 70 and older account for 38% of all hospitalizations. Over 80% of this age group is now fully vaccinated. Vaccines are also now available to all Coloradans over the age of 12. 

The state’s role in mandating statewide restrictions is lessening and the role of local communities to regulate and manage the virus is increasing. This does not mean that people should stop taking precautions, especially if they are not yet vaccinated. Different counties have different levels of disease transmission, and so the role of managing the pandemic through restrictions is starting to shift from a state to a local responsibility.  

The state is carefully monitoring the transmission of COVID-19, including its variants. We have a safety net of policies as the state begins to open in case we start to see a new surge in disease transmission.

The 5 Star Program will continue under the oversight of each county’s 5 Star Committees, local public health, and local elected officials. The new public health order removes state oversight from the program, giving counties greater flexibility to modify their own requirements for 5 Star certified businesses. Existing approved variances remain in effect, including 5 Star Program approvals granted by a county. 

Fully vaccinated people may go without masks in most settings, unless a local community or business requires mask-wearing.

Unvaccinated people over age 12 are encouraged to continue wearing masks in all public indoor spaces where members of different households are present. 

Masks are still required in certain settings, including in schools for unvaccinated students, teachers, and staff.

For more information about when and where masks are required, visit CDPHE’s Guidance for wearing masks webpage.