What to Know About COVID-19 and Downtown Boulder
(updated September 2021)
The Downtown Boulder Partnership (DBP) is staying in close contact with our partners locally (City and County of Boulder, Boulder Chamber, the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau and Colorado Tourism Office); throughout the state of Colorado (Downtown Colorado, Inc.) and nationally (International Downtown Association) to keep up-to-date information readily available. We are committed to insuring that the public is provided with accurate, updated information about public health conditions, not only in Boulder but throughout Colorado.
DBP's guiding principle is to seek and heed the most up-to-date expert guidance, and we urge the public to do the same.
Downtown Businesses are encouraged to utilize the Boulder Chamber's COVID-19 Business Resource Page for up-to-date details and information. Boulder County Public Health's website also provides a wealth of resources and news.
Health Orders & Updates / Downtown Business Resources /Temporary Changes to Business Operations
Updated September 3, 2021:
To support the safety of all the community members, including children who are not eligible for vaccination, Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) issued Public Health Order 2021-08. The order, approved by Board of Health on Sept. 2, 2021, requires mask wearing in all indoor public spaces for all individuals 2 years and older regardless of vaccination status and will go into effect on Friday, Sept. 3. (Boulder County’s Transmission Status, including if masks are currently required, is posted on Boulder County Public Health’s status page. If Boulder County is in substantial or high transmission status for five consecutive days, masks are required in public indoor spaces. Once transmission decreases to moderate or low levels for 21 consecutive days, masks will no longer be required in public indoor spaces. However, individuals may still choose to wear them, and businesses may still implement policies requiring them.)
Updated May 20, 2021:
Boulder County's amended mask order states that fully vaccinated people are not required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces, besides those indicated below, but recommends the continued use of face coverings. REMINDER: Full vaccination means two weeks after your second dose of the Modera or Pfizer vaccine or two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Local Orders still Require masks in the following instances indoors, regardless of vaccination status, in Boulder County:
- Healthcare (hospitals, urgent care, clinics, non-urgent medical structures, etc.)
- P-12 Schools, Childcare, Indoor Camps
- Congregate care facilities
- Public transportation and conveyances
- When 100 or more unvaccinated people or individuals of unknown status are in a room located in a Public Indoor Space, as required by CDPHE PHO 20-38, as Amended.
Face Covers are still Recommended (not required, not enforceable) for Businesses and Organizations with Public Indoor Spaces.
Updated May 6, 2021:
On Wednesday, May 5th, Boulder County Public Health extended its Facial Covering Order to align with the Colorado Face Covering Order and will stand for 30 days. (Boulder County Public Health will continue to monitor vaccination rates, case rates and hospitalization rates during this period.)
The extended public health order continues to require face coverings regardless of vaccination status or group size in high-risk, indoor settings, including the following:
- Preschool through 12th grade (including extracurricular activities), childcare centers and services, and indoor children’s camps, regardless of whether a license is required for such activities.
- Public areas of state government facilities, county or municipal government facilities, and areas of such government facilities where members of the public come into contact with government employees.
- Congregate care facilities, including nursing facilities, assisted living residences, intermediate care facilities and group homes.
- Prisons and jails.
- Emergency medical and other healthcare settings, including hospitals, ambulance service centers, urgent care centers, non-ambulatory surgical structures, clinics, medical offices and non-urgent care medical structures.
- Retail stores, grocery stores and the public-facing portion of any other business.
- Personal services, such as massage, hair salons, barbers, etc.
- Limited healthcare settings, such as acupuncture, athletic training, audiology services, etc.
- When 100 or more unvaccinated people or individuals of unknown vaccination status are in a room in a public indoor space.
- As required by the CDC: Persons two years or older must wear masks while on conveyances and at transportation hubs, such as shared rides and public transportation.
In certain lower risk, non-public-facing settings, such as office areas or private events, individuals may remove their face coverings when:
- There are nine or fewer unvaccinated individuals or individuals of unknown vaccination status present in the space.
- At least 80% of those individuals are fully vaccinated and have shown proof of vaccination.
This order requires businesses and event organizers to ensure all individuals, including customers, are wearing face coverings the entire time they are in a public indoor space unless an exception applies.
All businesses must continue to post signs at entrance(s) instructing individuals of their legal obligation under this order and the state’s guidance.
Visitors to public indoor spaces who cannot tolerate a mask should seek alternatives, such as curbside delivery, to avoid entering public indoor spaces.
Anyone with questions regarding this order should contact the Boulder County Call Center at 720-776-0822 or view the COVID-19 information on BCPH’s website.
Updated April 16, 2021:
New Dial graphic from the County.
(There is no Green Level in the BCPH order. From April 16 - May 15, 2021, Boulder County will operate in the Blue Level.)
The new County Level Blue is like the current state Level Blue with one difference:
For any gathering between April 16 and May 15, 2021 exceeding 500 attendees, such as an indoor or outdoor event or activity, businesses or organizers must contact Boulder County Public Health at least 14 days in advance of the event and submit a plan to the County (Covidbiz@bouldercounty.org) and have it approved to ensure adequate COVID-19 mitigation and prevention measures will be in place. It is possible the county may not approve the request.
Level Blue Restrictions
Many of the distancing and capacity requirements under Level Blue in the State Order will apply, including the six foot distancing requirements. (See appendix A of revised Public health order 2021-04.)
- Restaurants: Up to 100% capacity, 6 foot between parties; last call 2 a.m. for on-premise
- Smoking Lounges: 50% capacity up to 25 people (whichever is fewer)
- Bars: 25% capacity up to 75 people
- Non-Critical Manufacturing and Offices: 75% capacity
- Gyms / Fitness: Up to 100% capacity, 6 foot between parties
- Group Sports and Camps: 50-person capacity per activity. Camps limited to 25 participants indoors and 50 outdoors.
- Critical and Non-Critical Retail: 75% capacity
- Personal Services: 50% capacity up to 50 people (whichever is fewer)
- Limited Health Care Settings: 50% capacity up to 50 people (whichever is fewer)
- Indoor Unseated Events and Entertainment: 50% capacity up to 175 people (whichever is fewer)
- Indoor Seated Events and Entertainment: 6 foot distancing up to 100% capacity
- Outdoor Seated and Unseated Events and Entertainment: 6 foot distancing up to 100% capacity
- Outdoor Guided Services: 6 foot distancing up to 100% capacity
- Large Events – defined as any indoor or outdoor event or gathering with more than 500 attendees – must submit plans to BCPH at
- firstname.lastname@example.org as explained in the public health order at least 14 days prior to scheduled event.
Download Order PDF here.
Updated January 4, 2021:
Effective Monday, January 4, 2021 the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has moved Boulder County to Level Orange on the state's pandemic dial. This means that indoor dining is open at 25% capacity (up to 50 people). In addition, the City of Boulder has announced their free delivery with Nosh Boulder promotion (within specified boundries) has been extended while subsidy funding lasts (anticipated through January 2020). Read the BCPH press release here.
Update December 9, 2020:
Governor Jared Polis has extended the state's mandatory mask order for an additional 30 days (until Jaunary 8, 2021). The order might be extended further at that time.
Updated November 18, 2020:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) notified Boulder County that it will move to the revised Level Red on Friday, November 20, 2020 starting at 5 pm. View Updated Capacity Restriction Chart PDF. Learn more about the State of Colorado's Pandemic Dial.
Updated November 9, 2020:
Governor Jared Polis has extended the state's mandatory mask order for an additional 30 days (until December 9). The order might be extended further at that time.
Updated November 5, 2020:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will move Boulder County to the more restrictive Safer at Home Level Orange: High Risk (previously called Level 3) on the state Dial beginning tomorrow (Friday, November 6th). View capacity restrictions / guidelines. Learn more about state's dial levels.
Update October 14, 2020:
The City of Boulder has repealed emergency order 2020-21, issued on Sept. 24, which prohibited alcohol sales at bars, restaurants and clubs between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. On-premises alcohol service may now end at 11 p.m. at bars, restaurants and clubs in Boulder, per a State of Colorado order. Last call for alcohol purchases is tied to the county’s dial level, which is determined by the state’s Safer at Home order. Boulder County is currently at Level 2 on the dial.
Due to the improving metrics for COVID-19 in the City of Boulder and Boulder County Public Health easing its gathering restrictions order from Level C to the less restrictive Level A, Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam has signed the amended order today, Oct. 14, 2020. The order takes effect at 5 p .m.
The city, in partnership with health officials, will continue to monitor and provide updates on COVID-19 and reminds the community to follow all recommended COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, as well as state and local orders. Latest information
Update October 10, 2020:
A mandatory mask-wearing requirement for Colorado went into effect in July 2020 and recently was extended under Executive Order D 2020-219 on October 11, 2020 for 30 days. It may continue to be extended if necessary. Details
Updated October 8, 2020:
City of Boulder is enhancing its citywide Boulder Business Recovery Program through the winter. The latest version of this citywide program aims to help local businesses stay open for winter by continuing outdoor expansion options. The winter program enhancement makes room for temporary structures and heating elements to make being outdoors more comfortable when the temperature drops. Street closures currently in place along west Pearl Street and on University Hill will remain in effect and the HOP bus will continue to run on a modified route. The program will begin accepting applications on Oct. 12.
In the spirit of the program, the extension process will be as seamless as possible for local businesses. Expansion permits and curbside pickup locations already issued under the BBRP will automatically be extended through Feb. 28, 2021, a date which may be extended as the pandemic continues to impact our community. There is no requirement that businesses notify the city if they do not wish to continue their expansion after Oct. 31. Visit the city’s program webpage for more information including application criteria, tent and heating options and details concerning alcoholic beverage sales (which are authorized/governed by the State of Colorado).
Updated September 28, 2020:
The City of Boulder has issued an emergency order prohibiting alcohol sales at bars, restaurants and clubs between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The order went into effect on Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. and will last through Oct. 8 at noon, unless further amended or extended. The order restricts alcohol beverage sales to end consumers for on-premises consumption between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. and applies to 199 businesses within Boulder city limits. Under the current state order, on-premises alcohol consumption ends at 11 p.m. in Boulder.
Updated September 25, 2020:
In an effort to reverse the trend of new cases, Boulder County Public Health, with support from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), has issued a new Public Health Order for specific Boulder residences. The Order takes effect at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 24, for the next 14 days. The Order includes two key provisions:
Anyone aged 18 to 22 years old anywhere in the City of Boulder may not participate in any gatherings of any size, whether indoors, outdoors, on or off campus, or with individuals of any age; and
Residents of 36 addresses identified in the Order who have repeatedly engaged in activities that violate public health orders or who live in congregate living situations must stay at their residence at all times (i.e. Stay-At-Home Order). Complete details. FAQ for businesses.
Updated September 9, 2020: The City Manager has issued Emergency Order 2020-18 which extends the applicability of current Pearl Street Mall rules to the entirety of the BID through October 31, 2020.
Updated September 3, 2020: City of Boulder Small Business Grant Program open for applications until 5 p.m. Friday, September 11, 2020 for local, small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Learn More
Updated August 24, 2020: Governor Polis extends "last call" to 11 p.m. Read Executive Order
Updated July 17, 2020: Executive Order D 2020 138 is a mandatory statewide mask order that goes into effect at midnight on July 16, 2020, and will be in effect for 30 days. It may be extended. State guidance for wearing masks.
Updated June 29, 2020: Boulder County Public Health has approved extension of the Boulder County Public Health Order requiring face coverings for every person older than 12 years old whenever in public anywhere in Boulder County that social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. The Order does not have an end date and will remain in place until it is rescinded.
The order includes exceptions, including people working alone in an office, anyone whose health would be negatively impacted by wearing a face covering (including mental health impacts), children aged 12 years and younger, and first responders under certain circumstances (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Order 20-26 requires first responders to wear face coverings).
While the Order does not require children under age 12 to wear a mask, it is expected that parents will encourage and supervise their use for their children older than three years old. Colorado has statutes that indicate that children under age 12 cannot form the requisite intent to violate the law in the same way that an adult can; therefore, masks are only recommended - rather than required - for children ages 3 through 12. Children younger than three years should not wear a face covering due to their risk of suffocation.
In situations where local municipalities also have face covering orders in place, the most restrictive order takes precedence. In addition, the statewide Safer at Home Order requires face coverings for some personal services, such as getting a haircut.
The full public health order and the current extension of the order are both available online.
The City of Boulder is creating a Curbside Pick-Up Zone program, which will operate through September 30, 2020. The program will convert some existing loading zones and other parking spaces in downtown Boulder and on University Hill for general curbside pick-up use. The program also includes an online, no-fee streamlined application for new curbside pick-up zones for businesses that are not in the vicinity of an existing zone. These curbside pick-up zones will be free of charge for 10 minutes to provide patrons and services enough time to pick-up orders and will be clearly signed in English and Spanish. The application is posted on the city’s COVID-19 Business Resources webpage.
Downtown restaurants and retailers can apply for temporary outdoor expansions (i.e. parkletts) through the city. Details can be found here.
How to Support Downtown Boulder Businesses
Love the Local. This is our organization’s trademarked logo that has more meaning in the current moment than ever before. Small business owners employ 47% of the private workforce. In Downtown Boulder, over 70% of our businesses are locally owned and operated.
Many of the employees who work at these businesses are our family, friends and neighbors. This is our time to come together as a community and help. Business owners are taking into account the tremendous impacts - physical, emotional and financial temporarily closing their doors have on their workers and families.
If you can help, please consider these options...buy local online; buy gift cards NOW that can be used later; order takeout or delivery; show support through social channels. Let the small business community know that we are in this together. Now more than ever #LoveTheLocal
The Downtown Boulder Partnership will be updating this page regularly. If we have missed something, or you have questions or concerns, please reach out to us at email@example.com
The Downtown Boulder Partnership is working hand in hand with the Boulder Chamber of Commerce to provide small business owners with tools and resources needed over the coming days and weeks ahead. Please visit their resouce page frequently as it is being updated on a regular basis.
The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
General questions about COVID-19:
Call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email COHELP@RMPDC.org, for answers in English and Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话), and more.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment COVID-19 Information
CDC: 2019 Novel Coronavirus web page
CDC One Sheets (PDF Downloads):
Share Facts about COVID-19
What You Need To Know
What To Do If You Are Sick
Stop the Spread of Germs Poster
World Health Organization
Keeping Your House Disenfected