Routt County Public Health Orders frequently asked questions


As of April 16th, the state of Colorado devolved the COVID-19 dial and gave counties local control. Routt County has a local public health order called the Road to Recovery that requires face masks and social distancing and outlines metrics and restrictions in three levels: low risk, caution and high risk that can be found here.

Lessening Risk




Routt County Public Health Orders

Why has Routt County issued these Public Health Orders?

The intent for all these Public Health Orders is to reduce community spread. The more the public and businesses adhere to the State and County Public Health Orders, the better chance to get on the roadmap to recovery.

What Public Health Orders have been issued in Routt County?

  • Multiple Disaster Declarations to allow for funding mechanisms
  • [[Public Health Order]][1][1] on business mitigation protocols, required face coverings. The road to recovery public health order exprires June 2nd.

Which Public Health Order do I have to follow? Is there a difference in the State and Routt County Orders?

How will the Public Health Orders be enforced?

Read the Guidlines for Enforcement of Public Health Orders here.

What do I do if see that an individual or business is not complying with the Public Health Orders?

Email and/or call the Routt County – .

Is there punishment for those who don’t follow the Public Health Orders?

The intent of the enforcement is compliance, not penalties. However, the Routt County Sheriff’s Office and the Police Departments of Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Oak Creek enforce the State and Routt County Public Health Orders. We encourage all Routt County residents to voluntarily comply with the State and County Public Health Orders. Non-compliance may result in fines up to $5,000, jail time up to 18 months, or other citations.

What if I am a victim of domestic violence and feel unsafe in my own home?

Routt County residents whose homes are unsafe such as victims of domestic violence are urged to seek a safe, alternative residence. Please reach out to Advocates of Routt County if you need help at the 24/7 Safe Line at or .

Business and Event FAQS

We have received many questions about the type of communications that are sent to businesses, event organizers and patrons if there is a COVID-19 case. Please see the link below to read the template letters, Routt County sends when there is a case at a business or an event.

Download the Business Public Health Orders DOc

What requirements do businesses have to follow Public Health Orders?

  • Key Tactics for Retail Businesses to Follow
    • Ensure that employees and customers wear face masks
    • Create physical distancing of 6 feet between customer groups
    • Develop, implement and post a site mitigation plan at business entrance
    • Ask employees to self-screen for illness
    • Reduce occupancy by 50%
  • Key Tactics for Food Establishments

    • Ensure that all employees wear face masks
    • Ensure that customers wear face masks until seated at a table
    • Have customers leave contact info for contact tracing (not applicable for fast food)
    • Create physical distancing of 6 feet between customer groups
    • Develop, implement and post a site mitigation plan at entrance
    • Ask employees to self-screen for illness
  • Suggestions For Communicating With Customers

What does an employer do if an employee is suspected or confirmed COVID-19 Case?

According to the State Safer at Home Order, sick employees need to be separated and sent home.

  • If an employee reports any symptoms, refer symptomatic employees to the Routt County Symptom Tracker and take all of the following steps:

    1. Send employee home immediately
    2. Increase cleaning in your facility and require social distancing of staff at least 6 feet apart from one another
    3. Exclude employee until they are fever-free and without medication for 72 hours and 10 days have passed since their first symptom
    4. If two or more employees have these symptoms, consult CDPHE’s outbreak guidance, contact the Routt County Public Health Department and cooperate in any disease outbreak investigations
    5. Eliminate or regularly clean and disinfect any items in common spaces, such as break rooms that are shared between individuals, condiments, coffee makers, and vending machines.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

  • Sick employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met (generally 10 days after symptom onset with improved respiratory symptoms and at least 3 days fever-free without fever-reducing medications).

  • Take action if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection:

    • In most cases, you do not need to shut down your workplace/facility.
  • If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the facility, close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person:

    • Wait 24 hours since the sick person used the area before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
    • During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas.
    • If it has been 7 days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routinely cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces in the facility.
    • If an individual has had close contact (less than 6 feet) or more than 15 minutes with a confirmed positive case, they must stay at home until 14 days after last exposure and maintain social distance from others at all times.
    • Self-monitor for symptoms
    • Check temperature twice a day
    • Watch for fever, cough, or shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19
    • Avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • Follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations.


Colorado Outdoor Event Guidance
Colorado Indoor Event Guidance

CDC Guidelines for Workplaces

What do event Organizers have to do for events?


Do people in non-critical offices have to wear face masks?

The State has a guidance for office-based businesses that states that employees need to wear face masks when they are interacting with customers or co-workers. You can find the state guidance here. In addition, Routt County has a public health order requiring masks in public places for employees and customers. If employees are in their own offices, then they can take the mask off when not interacting with anyone, but should wear them whenever they might interact with co-workers. The Routt County Public Health Order can be found here.

When is wearing a mask most effective? "

Given the context of the current pandemic, it would be most effective if you’re out and about running errands — you’re not going to be able to appropriately physically distance yourself from other people. So if you’re doing things like going to the supermarket or the pharmacy. If you’re going to be around other people, I think it’s very important to be wearing a mask because we’re currently in a situation where we have to assume everybody has COVID-19. Also, making sure you use hand hygiene before you touch your face covering or your mask. One of the things we get concerned about is we know that the virus can live on countertops, light switches, it can live on surfaces. What we would hate is for somebody to touch something, get the virus on their hand and then touch their mask."

Is one type of mask best?

"The whole idea behind the wearing of a mask is to prevent any of your droplets from spreading to anybody else. So anything that you can put over your nose and your mouth that's going to prevent spreading of droplets is going to be optimal. Nobody in the public really needs to be wearing an N95 mask."

Is it still effective when people cover their mouths with the mask, but not their noses?

It’s better than nothing, but it’s defeating the purpose because we know this is an upper respiratory tract infection so you can inhale in droplets.

What about claims that masks are dangerous for people with certain health conditions?

I can’t come up with any medical condition that would make it inappropriate for you to be wearing a mask. What’s becoming challenging is people are trying to come up with all these, for lack of a better word, loopholes, to get around it. I think the one I hear the most is: “I have asthma. I can’t wear a mask.” There’s no reason you can’t wear a mask if you have asthma. I have friends who are surgeons who have asthma who have not had problems wearing masks for years and years.

How often should you wear one?

If you’re by yourself in your car and nobody’s been in your car, there’s no reason to be wearing a mask. If you’re in your car and you're with somebody else, depending on who that person is, it is a good idea to be wearing a mask. Because, let’s say, I’m in the car with my 80-year-old grandmother. We’re potentially breathing the same air, we’re in close proximity to each other. In certain cases depending on your risk, it may be a good idea to wear one at home, depending on what you’re doing, the people who are living in your house and their risk factors as well. The longer we don’t adhere to the recommendations, the longer that this is going to go on. And so I guess my plea to everybody would be: really think about not just yourself but other people.

What are the different types of masks?

The WHO and the CDC recommend mask use in health care settings, if you or someone you live with is sick, and where social distancing is difficult (for example, in stores or on public transit).

  • N95: , which block 95% of small particles (0.3 microns or larger) when properly fitted, protect the person wearing it and those around them. But there are ongoing shortages of these masks and the CDC says they should still be reserved for health care workers.
  • KN95: These masks are similar to N95 ones but are produced in China under the country's standards. The FDA shortened their list of approved KN95 manufacturers after some were found to be faulty.
  • Surgical masks: They're meant to stop large droplets of saliva coming from the person wearing the mask but about 75% of droplets may be blocked from entering, too.
  • Cloth masks: The many configurations of cloth masks may block 30–60% of particles, according to the same preprint study that assessed surgical masks.

Can I get tonsilitis and other diseases from wearing a mask all the time?

According to our County Medical Officer, Dr. Brian Harrington, "Wearing a mask does not cause tonsilitis. Our mouths are full of bacteria. Sure, we spray bacteria on our masks, but they are the same bacteria already in our mouths. Masks have not been shown to be some mountain of foreign bacteria poised to invade our bodies. Most tonsilitis is due to viruses, or irritants in the air. The only significant bacterial tonsilitis we deal with is strep."

Are we breathing in CO2 when wearing masks?

According to our County Medical Officer, Dr. Brian Harrington, "In theory, and under some lab conditions with tight fitting masks, we do rebreathe some of our exhaled CO2 when wearing a mask. High CO2 levels can cause headaches, but I would argue that is difficult and rare to achieve with most masks. I do not consider this a medical danger. Similarly, rebreathing some of our exhaled air will decrease the partial pressure of oxygen that we take in. It is possible that if significant enough this could contribute to shortness of breath, especially with exertion. This could be akin to going up in altitude. For most people, I do not consider this to be significant enough to be a medical danger. I have confidence that at least some of the thousands of health care professionals and organizations who recommend mask wearing have similarly consider the oxygen and CO2 issues with masks, and similarly discounted them as significant risks for most people."

Where can I look to find more information about this order and staying healthy?

  • Facebook – and

  • Instagram –

  • Subscribe for press releases and County News here.

  • Subscribe to the weekly COVID-19 newsletter, email to get on the list.

  • Email with questions.