May 14, 2021 - News

Colorado ends most COVID-19 limits, lifts mask order

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis adjusts his face mask.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis adjusts his face mask. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado will no longer require face masks in most settings β€” even for unvaccinated people β€” and expects to lift all public health guidelines at the end of the month.

Driving the news: The state's move goes beyond the latest CDC guidelines that allow vaccinated people to go maskless because it also applies to those who are not immunized.

  • A face covering is merely suggested for those who are not vaccinated but is not required.

What they're saying: "Today we are not celebrating the end of the pandemic, but we are celebrating an important milestone," a maskless Gov. Jared Polis announced on Friday.

  • "I never really liked wearing a mask very much," he added.

The state of play: Colorado's COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the decline as vaccines become more prevalent. Those rates remains elevated from a fourth wave that hit when the state first relaxed public health protocols.

Yes, but: The state's new order, in effect through June 1, requires masks in certain settings, including health care facilities, prisons, jails, schools and childcare operators.

  • But a school district may now permit vaccinated teachers and students to go without masks if they show proof of vaccination.
  • The order is expected to maintain rules for indoor events with 500 or more people.

Officials expect some businesses to continue requiring face masks, and Polis said people should be courteous and do so when asked.

Between the lines: The governor expects this is "one of the final if not the final" order to phase out all public health restrictions β€” barring an increase in COVID case rates.

What's next: Denver announced later on Friday an end to capacity restrictions on businesses starting Sunday. The city will follow the state's lead and not impose mask requirements.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more