City of Denver’s mandatory face mask order takes effect Wednesday

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DENVER (KDVR) – On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Hancock will require face coverings in certain public settings in the city of Denver.

The rule applies to anyone over the age of 3. It will remain in effect until further notice.

Hancock says residents and employees are required to wear face coverings at any retail or commercial business, common area, enclosed public space, government building, bus or train stop, ride share and taxi.

Hancock said multiple agencies will be involved in enforcement. While those found in violation of the order will not be charged with a misdemeanor, it will be considered a civil violation, resulting in a fine of up to $999.

The mayor said medical-grade masks, like N-95s, should be reserved for health care workers and first responders. Additionally, masks with a valve that allow for easier exhalation are not permitted.

Denver residents should be prepared to be turned away from entering a store if they are not wearing a mask. Some shops plan to provide face coverings to customers if they do not have one.

“We’re requiring everyone who enters the store to wear a mask,” Perch Denver’s store manager Debbie Stewart said.

Denver’s Perch boutique in Cherry Creek will only allow two to three customers in the store at a time. Any clothing that a customer tries on but does not purchase will be steamed and set aside for 24 hours.

“They’ll sit on a rack and we’ll steam them because steam kills bacteria,” Stewart said.

Shoppers can also expect to sign in at the front door with their name and cellphone number. Stewart said that will help them track anyone who may later test positive for COVID-19.

“Just in case they are a carrier and they don’t know it and they’re sick. That way if they do come down and are sick, we can reach out to our clients,” Stewart said.

In Denver’s Washington Park Neighborhood, restaurants like Homegrown Tap & Dough, which hopes to host dine-in guests again when guidance allows, will also require customers to wear a mask.

“One of the things we’ve thought about is, do we just order a ton of bandannas and if a guest arrives without it, ‘Hey, here’s your bandanna,'” Peter Newlin, president of Gastamo Group said. 

But requiring masks at a place where folks will eat food is also proving to be challenging.

“You have to eat and you can’t really eat with a mask, so what we’re going to do is try to figure out how to get someone to their table comfortably and then after that, of course, enjoy the food,” Newlin said. 

When it comes to withdrawing cash, while it may seem downright wrong to have your face covered while entering a bank, a Wells Fargo spokesman says it’s their policy for customers to wear a face covering inside client-facing locations where governments require masks.

For big-box stores like Target, a spokesman says they will have team members stationed outside to remind customers to wear a mask, but you will still be allowed in the store without one.

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