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Updated Mask Guidance

By: Colorado Dental Association

In the past week, both the CDC and the State of Colorado have updated mask-wearing guidelines.

CDC guidelines are recommendations and can be superseded by state and local orders. On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis relaxed mask-wearing requirements for those who are fully vaccinated with Executive Order D 2021 103.

The amended executive order states that fully vaccinated people can go without masks in public indoor spaces unless the setting requires otherwise. Unvaccinated people over age 11 are encouraged to continue wearing masks in all public indoor spaces where members of different households are present.

Masks are still required in certain settings, including in schools for unvaccinated students, teachers, and staff, as well as other settings which are laid out in the executive order. Local communities and businesses may have additional mask restrictions.

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.

Over the weekend, Public Health Order 20-38 was released. This order supersedes PHO 20-36 and PHO 20-29, with which the dental community is most familiar with. PHO 20-38 further enforces the above-mentioned executive order. The only reference to non-hospital healthcare settings addresses staff/employees:

“Face coverings are required pursuant to Executive Order D 2021 103 for certain individuals, age eleven (11) and older, in the following settings:

Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated personnel in emergency medical and other healthcare settings (including hospitals, ambulance service centers, urgent care centers, non-ambulatory surgical structures, clinics, doctors’ offices, and non-urgent care medical structures);”

Personnel (staff/employees) who are not fully vaccinated are required to continue wearing face coverings. There is not currently a reference addressing mask-wearing for patients.

What does this mean for a dental office?

COVID-19 is not fully resolved; however, vaccines have provided some relief to the restrictions of last year. While masks are no longer required in dental offices if the individual is fully vaccinated, mask-wearing is still encouraged as a precautionary measure and recommended by the CDC to prevent the spread of the virus in healthcare settings. A dental office, as a business, can require patients to wear a mask while in the office and should notify patients of any policy of this nature.


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