Mandatory Mask Order: Frequently Asked Questions
Effective July 17, 2020 there is a mandatory statewide mask order, requiring all people in Colorado over age ten to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth in any public indoor space to alleviate the spread of COVID-19. The order is currently in effect through November 12, 2020 but could be extended.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions as it relates to apartment communities:
Does the statewide masking requirement outlined in Executive Order 138 require masking in outdoor amenities and common areas?
No, the Order does not impose any outdoor masking obligations, other than when waiting for public transportation. It does contain an obligation to mask while “entering” indoor areas. Given that there is some vagueness as to when a person begins the process of “entering”, there is room for dispute about whether a person should be masked within close proximity to doors.
Does the statewide masking requirement outlined in Executive Order 138 require masking in indoor amenities and common areas?
The practical answer and likely intent of the Order is yes. Certainly, many of the landlord’s customers will have this expectation and many media discussions of the Order are conveying this requirement. However, a more technical analysis of the requirement is far less cut and dry. The precise language of the order dealing with the definition of covered indoor space states:
For the purpose of this Executive Order, Public Indoor Space means any enclosed indoor area that is publicly privately owned, managed, or operated to which individuals have access by right or by invitation, express or implied, and that is accessible to the public, serves as a place of employment, or is an entity providing services.
A community’s common areas and amenities are not open and accessible to the public (at least presuming they are behind a locked common door). Rather, they are open and accessible only to residents. Nor are the common areas and amenities places of employment or places providing a service. As such, they do not fit the recited definition of Public Indoor Space. However, unless one is in the position that of having to argue this distinction after the fact because of a claimed violation, one can see the impracticability of having this technical and nuanced debate with customers.
Are masks required inside the actual living units during home visits by maintenance techs, leasing tours, etc.?
The statewide masking order only impacts indoor public places. It has no requirement regarding masking in private residences (whether by the resident or someone else). Nevertheless, expectations of indoor masking are high and a Landlord’s customer base is likely to require masking as a condition of allowing entry. The Association recommends masking for entry unless the resident explicitly consents to non-masked entry.