Boulder County program to allow businesses to apply for mask exemptions

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Boulder County business owners will be able to apply for a program that will offer their customers and staff the ability to visit indoor public spaces without masks, despite the recently reinstated mask mandate.

Interested companies can apply to the Boulder County Public Health Coronavirus Vaccine Verification Program. Applications will be accepted from Friday.

Shawn Hollister, Boulder County public health spokesperson, said to comply with the program, businesses or events must follow a rule that at least 95% of people in the indoor space must be vaccinated. The rule was created to allow certain exceptions for people who might qualify for an exemption or not be eligible for the vaccine. In this case, Hollister said, the facility or event can choose whether or not to admit an unvaccinated person.

Hollister stressed, however, that to comply with the program, the number of unvaccinated people cannot exceed 5%. He said it would be up to companies to verify a person’s immunization status.

How it works

Companies can apply online at the Boulder County Public Health Vaccine Verification website at bit.ly/2ZhGPtM. Public health officials will approve, approve with conditions, or deny the request. If approved, the business will need to post approved signs.

Hollister said there are several basic requirements for the vaccination check program. The facility or event must have a written policy requiring proof of vaccination for all persons entering the interior space, including visitors, guests, employees and staff; the establishment or event must verify that 95% of all individuals inside are vaccinated; and implement other mitigation strategies, such as increased ventilation and air circulation, requiring limb distances and symptom screening.

Hollister has stated that any business, event or organization that operates in an indoor space is eligible. Schools, daycares, and youth and sports activities, however, are not eligible, according to the county’s website.

Commercial comments

John Tayer, president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber, said many members of the Boulder business community have told him about their enthusiasm for the program.

“We are very grateful that Boulder County Public Health provides this flexibility to our businesses to both advance immunization in our community, encourage it, and at the same time provide (businesses) the flexibility to operate maskless and invite customers who are in compliance with vaccination regulations, ”Tayer said.

Tayer stressed that the program is voluntary.

“Businesses can choose to pursue it as an alternative to mandatory indoor masking regulations,” Tayer said. “Our expectation is that those who fear that their workforce or employees will not want to comply with this type of mandate may forgo this opportunity. “

Jennifer Saddoris is the owner of Shred415, a boutique fitness studio in Boulder that combines strength training with running and treadmill walking.

“Obviously it’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to run with a mask,” said Saddoris.

She said her company would apply to the county’s vaccine verification program.

“We wanted to help do everything possible to get back to normal,” Saddoris said. “We see the vaccination warrant as a good way to encourage people who might have been on the fence about this or were unsure. It’s a good nudge to say, “Come on, do it. “

Docketly, a provider of attorneys appearing in Longmont, is also among the companies that have expressed interest in applying for the program. Brandon Fuller, CEO, said employees prefer the opportunity to work in an office, where they can be together face to face.

“We also have a family atmosphere within our team, so we want to ensure the safety of our employees at work so that they can return home safely to their loved ones,” Fuller wrote in an email.

Jacob Harmon is the CEO of Boulder Voices for Children, a Gunbarrel nonprofit that provides services and support to children who have experienced trauma, primarily in the child welfare system. He said the non-profit organization will be among the companies applying for the program.

“The vaccine verification program will absolutely help us do a better job,” Harmon wrote in an email. “This means we can get back to work faster and more efficiently. This means that we can continue to build trust within our community by taking the necessary precautions to ensure that we are a safe place for the children and families we serve. We always put the well-being of children first, and our immunized team is a living embodiment of this core value. “

What does it mean?

There are several ways for Boulder County Public Health to prove that people can prove their vaccine status, including showing their COVID-19 vaccination record, which includes the person’s name, type of vaccine, and the last dose. provided. People can also provide a photo of the vaccination record as a separate document or have an electronic photo on their phone or electronic device. They can also provide documentation from a healthcare provider or access to digital records through the myColorado application.

Boulder County Public Health has said on its website that masking and testing negative COVID-19 are not alternatives to proof of vaccination.

Hollister wrote that Boulder County Public Health sees the program as a way for the community to work together to end the pandemic.

“Fully vaccinated individuals have a significantly lower risk of transmitting and contracting the delta variant of COVID-19,” Hollister said. “Widespread vaccination is the key to freedom and the protection of people, the economy and our infrastructure. We must strongly accelerate the achievement of community immunity through systemic approaches, including employer policies requiring vaccination. “


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