Colorado Executive Order Creates New Requirements for Employer Accommodations, Mask Usage

July 20, 2020 Advisory

Gov. Jared Polis signed an Executive Order on July 9, 2020, implementing new coronavirus-related protections for employees in Colorado. The Executive Order, titled “Protect Our Neighbors,” took effect immediately and imposes the following notable restrictions on employers:

  • individuals at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 cannot be compelled to perform in-person work for any business or government function, including a critical business or critical government function; and
  • employers must provide reasonable accommodation to, and are prohibited from discriminating against, employees who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been in contact with a known positive case of COVID-19.

Individuals in the following categories are considered “at risk of severe illness from COVID-19”:

  1. individuals who are 65 years and older;
  2. individuals with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma;
  3. individuals who have serious heart conditions;
  4. pregnant women; and
  5. individuals determined to be high risk by a licensed health care provider.

Additionally, the Executive Order called for the issuance of a Public Health Order (PHO) by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The PHO, which was issued on July 10, is effective from July 6, 2020, through Aug. 5, 2020. It includes, among other terms, provisions that:

  • require all employers to make work accommodations for individuals at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (offering “telecommuting” as an example of such an accommodation);
  • require employers to provide “to the greatest extent possible” flexible or remote scheduling for employees who may have child or elder care obligations or who live with those who are required to self-isolate due to an underlying condition, age or other factor;
  • encourage employers to accommodate individuals living in the same household as an individual at risk of severe illness from COVID-19;
  • require employers to phase work shifts and breaks to reduce employee density; and
  • require employers to provide employees with protective gear such as gloves, masks and face coverings.

On July 16, 2020, Gov. Polis signed another Executive Order requiring the wearing of nonmedical masks, covering an individual’s mouth and nose in all public indoor spaces. This Executive Order, titled “Statewide Mandatory Mask Order,” took effect at midnight on July 16 and applies to the following public indoor spaces:

  • Government buildings
  • Nonprofits
  • Public and private transportation
  • Houses of worship
  • Private country clubs or social clubs
  • Grocery stores
  • Hair salons
  • All offices, lobbies and elevators
  • Malls and retail stores
  • Indoor businesses and common areas
  • Medical facilities and nursing homes
  • Restaurants (if not seated)
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Theaters
  • Casinos
  • Gyms, including areas around pools but not while swimming in the pool
  • All enclosed indoor areas, whether publicly or privately owned or managed, except an individual’s residence

In addition, if a business provides services or goods both indoors and outdoors at a single location, a mask must be worn in the indoor portion of that business or entity.

This Executive Order states that businesses must refuse service to people who are not wearing masks in violation of the Executive Order. In addition, businesses must post signs at entrances that instruct customers they must wear a mask when entering or moving around inside the business.

Under the Executive Order, people do not have to wear a mask when they are:

  • in their own residence, including a hotel room or a residential room for students at an educational facility;
  • hearing-impaired or otherwise disabled or who are communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired or otherwise disabled, and where the ability to see the person’s mouth is essential for communication;
  • seated at a food service establishment;
  • exercising alone or with others from the individual’s household, and a face-covering is necessary to perform the activity;
  • entering a business or receiving services and are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes;
  • are actively engaged in a public safety role such as law enforcement, firefighters or other emergency personnel;
  • officiating at a religious service; or
  • giving a speech for broadcast or an audience.

Armstrong Teasdale attorneys are actively monitoring and providing updates regarding the impact of COVID-19. For additional information, visit Armstrong Teasdale’s COVID-19 Resource Center.

Contact Us
  • Worldwide
  • Boston, MA
  • Denver, CO
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Edwardsville, IL
  • Jefferson City, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • London, England
  • Miami, FL
  • New York, NY
  • Orange County, CA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Princeton, NJ
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wilmington, DE
abstract image of world map
Boston, MA
800 Boylston St.
30th Floor
Boston, MA 02199
Google Maps
Boston, Massachusetts
Denver, CO
4643 S. Ulster St.
Suite 800
Denver, CO 80237
Google Maps
Denver, Colorado
Dublin, Ireland
Fitzwilliam Hall, Fitzwilliam Place
Dublin 2, Ireland
Google Maps
Edwardsville, IL
115 N. Second St.
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Google Maps
Edwardsville, Illinois
Jefferson City, MO
101 E. High St.
First Floor
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Google Maps
Jefferson City, Missouri
Kansas City, MO
2345 Grand Blvd.
Suite 1500
Kansas City, MO 64108
Google Maps
Kansas City, Missouri
Las Vegas, NV
1980 Festival Plaza Drive, Suite 750
One Summerlin
Las Vegas, NV 89135
Google Maps
Las Vegas, Nevada
London, England
Royal College of Surgeons of England
38-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London, WC2A 3PE
Google Maps
Miami, FL
355 Alhambra Circle
Suite 1250
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Google Maps
Photo of Miami, Florida
New York, NY
7 Times Square, 44th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Google Maps
New York City skyline
Orange County, CA
19800 MacArthur Boulevard
Suite 300
Irvine, CA 92612
Google Maps
Philadelphia, PA
2005 Market Street
29th Floor, One Commerce Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Google Maps
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Princeton, NJ
100 Overlook Center
Second Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540
Google Maps
Princeton, New Jersey
Salt Lake City, UT
222 South Main St.
Suite 1830
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Google Maps
Salt Lake City, Utah
St. Louis, MO
7700 Forsyth Blvd.
Suite 1800
St. Louis, MO 63105
Google Maps
St. Louis, Missouri
Washington, D.C.
1050 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Google Maps
Photo of Washington, D.C. with the Capitol in the foreground and Washington Monument in the background.
Wilmington, DE
1007 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Google Maps
Wilmington, Delaware