Open Accessibility Menu

Guidance Following the Repeal of Boulder County’s Mask Mandate

Feb. 18, 2022 - Earlier this week, the Boulder County Board of Health voted to rescind Public Health Order 2021-08 and Public Health Order 2021-07, effective at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18.

Public Health Order 2021-08 required all individuals 2+ to wear masks in all indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. Public Health Order 2021-07 required masks for all childcare settings, PK-12 schools, and youth activities regardless of vaccination status.

Although masks will no longer be required by Boulder County Public Health after Feb. 18, BCPH recommends all individuals 2+ wear a mask while around others.

Read the full communication from BCPH here

A statewide Colorado mask order is still in place, requiring unvaccinated people to wear masks in certain public indoor spaces. BCPH also recommends that private businesses and facilities implement their own vaccine or indoor mask requirements and policies to keep those they serve safe.

Per federal law, wearing a mask (over nose and mouth) is required in indoor areas of public transportation (including on airplanes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation), until March 18, 2022.

To protect our patients and staff, all people entering a BCH care facility (including all clinics and Foothills Hospital) will still be required to wear a mask (exceptions include children <2 yrs. old or medical reasons such as trouble breathing, unconsciousness, or someone unable to remove a mask without assistance). A well-fitting surgical grade mask is required. Cloth masks, bandanas, neck gaiters and masks with valves are not acceptable.

These requirements follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare during COVID-19. More info on this is available here

While the most recent COVID-19 data in Boulder County and statewide is encouraging, our county remains in High Transmission (100 new cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days). As of this communication (2/18), Boulder County is at 273 new cases per 100,000 people (almost three times the high transmission designation).

“Masks should be here to stay, even though it’s now voluntary,” says BCH infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Amie Meditz. “Masks have proven to have significant benefit, preventing higher levels of transmission of COVID-19 and protecting the medically vulnerable. Many of the general population are noticing the health benefit of not having respiratory illnesses as frequently in the last two years while masking. It should be noted that masks will still be required in certain public indoor situations, such as planes and other public transportation, and places which need to protect the medically vulnerable, such as hospitals and clinics.”

Dr. Meditz and BCH’s infectious diseases team said they will continue to wear, at minimum, high-quality surgical grade masks in all public indoor scenarios, especially scenarios where exposure to someone with a contagious respiratory disease is likely (i.e: doctor’s offices, airports, public transportation).

For community members who still want to wear masks, Dr. Meditz offers the following advice:

  • Highest levels of protection occur when everyone wears a mask, but a high-quality surgical mask and higher (like a KN95 or N95) will protect you when others are not masking.
  • Well-fitted N95, KN95 and surgical grade masks prevent transmission of germs you may be carrying and at the same time protect you. Cloth masks do not have this bi-directional functionality.
  • The last two years have confirmed how effective masks are at reducing transmission of other contagious respiratory infections. During the cold and flu seasons of 2020 and 2021, there was a dramatic reduction in both influenza and rhinovirus infections.
  • Watch Dr. Meditz demonstrate a well-fitting surgical mask in this video. 

If you are ready to remove your mask, please keep the following advice in mind:

  • Booster vaccination is a critical piece to maximizing protection against COVID-19, based on multiple studies.
  • One study showed that two doses of mRNA vaccine protected against symptomatic infection 64% of the time for Delta, but only 35% for Omicron. A third dose significantly increased this protection to 95% and 76%, respectively. More info about this study is available at:
  • Vaccinated people with a third dose (booster) are 8.1 times less likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated people without a third dose (booster) and 58.9 times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated people.

  • A new CDC study finds that with the Omicron Variant circulating widely, adults in LA County who were unvaccinated against COVID-19 were 23 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people who were fully vaccinated with a booster. More info about this study is available at:
  • Wearing a mask is not related to politics or identity. There are many groups who will continue to wear masks, including those who are immunocompromised, pregnant, children under 5 years old (who are not eligible for vaccines yet), with multiple comorbidities for age and risk factors, or those awaiting a surgical procedure. Be kind and respectful.
  • Increasing airflow and ventilation, along with physical distancing and frequent handwashing are still advised. Most importantly, stay home if you’re sick. If you feel sick (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell or sore throat), stay home, get tested. Individuals should still adhere to isolation and quarantine guidance, including wearing a mask for five days after an initial five-day isolation period when in any public indoor setting.

The BCH Vaccine Clinic at the Della Cava Medical Pavilion (4801 Riverbend Road in Boulder) is open Fridays from 9am to 1:3pm (for ages 12 and older) and 2-6pm (for ages 5-11). Vaccine Call Center: 303-415-7777 Mon-Fri, 8am to 5pm. You can also schedule a COVID-19 vaccine or booster at

For additional BCH vaccine and COVID information, visit