How to operate a ‘fully vaccinated’ business in Denver

COVID-19 Vaccine

DENVER (KDVR) — There’s been some confusion over Denver’s COVID-19 public health order that went into effect Wednesday. The mayor called the order “Vax or Mask,” but we found that could use some clarity.

While Denver’s latest public health order gives businesses the option of requiring everyone to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination, the process of getting approved to be a fully vaccinated business isn’t that simple.

Sonia Riggs with the Colorado Restaurant Association said she worries that there will be confusion given the short turnaround.

“The official announcement came out literally to the public 12 hours before this was supposed to be in place. So I think that was what was a challenge for the industry,” Riggs said.

Which Denver businesses are considered ‘fully vaccinated’?

In order for a business to be “fully vaccinated” and allow its staff and patrons to go maskless, they have to clear it with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment.

The city said businesses only need to do this once to get verified with the city, but how they plan to keep track of 95% of their patrons being is up to the business.

That’s something Riggs said restauranteurs are thinking about when it comes to compliance.

“We recently did a survey, and 94% of restaurants said that they are concerned about their employees having to enforce behaviors of guests, and I think that’s a real concern,” Riggs said. “We saw people being angry and in some cases violent, not only in Colorado but around the country, with previous mask mandates and other requirements.”

Riggs said their survey also found only 2% of the restaurants surveyed were requiring vaccinations for entry.

Although some businesses will be closed the rest of the week because of the Thanksgiving holiday, many restaurants and retailers will be open for business. Industry leaders are asking the public to be patient with employees while managers navigate how they want to handle the new mandate.

How to become a ‘Fully Vaccinated Facility’ in Denver

To become a “Fully Vaccinated Facillity” in Denver, businesses must email the DDPHE at

The email should have the business name, address and a contact person who is in charge of verifying everyone is vaccinated.

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