COVID-19: More Than 30 States Have Mask Mandates. Is Your State One?

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Getty Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

Mask mandates are popping up all over the state as health experts urge universal mask-wearing to prevent the spread of coronavirus and stop the surging numbers of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, recently told Matthew McConaughey during an Instagram interview, “My recommendation, as you probably know because I’ve said it publicly so many times, is that absolutely we should have universal wearing of masks,” The Hill reported.

In July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote, “Americans are increasingly adopting the use of cloth face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the latest science may convince even more to do so.” In that press release, the CDC called on Americans to wear masks to reduce COVID-19 spread.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield in that press release. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

Several governors have adopted the measure as a way to reduce the spread. Here’s what you need to know in case your state/territory is one which requires masks:

This list is current as of August 15 and will be updated again on August 31.


In the West . . .

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GettyA June 26 protest in Vancouver, Washington took place against the mask mandate.

California
The California Department of Public Health’s guidance for using face coverings has required residents to wear a mask in “most settings outside the home” since June 18; one week later, it was updated to include children under 2 years old. As of August 13, the Health Department reported upwards of 600,000 cases and nearly 11,000 fatalities.

Colorado
Governor Jared Polis’ mandate requiring all residents over the age of 10 to wear masks in indoor public spaces. The 30-day order took effect July 17; counties that meet certain benchmarks might be able to opt-out, according to the order.

Hawaii
Governor David Ige’s issued a COVID-19 emergency order that required business customers to wear masks and employees who work with customers and goods to wear masks.

Nevada
Governor Steve Sisolak issued a mandatory mask order on June 24, requiring residents to wear a face-covering in public spaces.

New Mexico
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a mask order on May 16, which applies to everyone over the age of – and even applies to people exercising in gyms that was added in July. Grisham has also encouraged retailers to enforce the law in their places of business and has asked law enforcement to “aggressively enforce” the order with $100 fine for violations.

Oregon
Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority issued mask rules on July 1, which require anyone five and older to wear masks in indoor public spaces; that was expanded to public outdoor areas of close proximity (closer than the six feet recommended by the CDC). In addition to the mask rule, gatherings of ten or more indoors have been banned.

Washington
On June 26, Governor Jay Inslee issued Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings requiring that masks be worn for everyone in indoor public settings and outdoor areas where six feet of distance cannot be maintained (excluding those under the age of two). Inslee has also required businesses to direct their employees to wear face coverings and to deny service to customers who defy the order.


In the Midwest . . .

Illinois
Governor J. B. Pritzker has issued a mask mandate requiring everyone at the age of two and older to wear a mask in indoor and outdoor spaces where six-feet of distance is not possible.

Indiana
Governor Eric Holcomb issued a mask order requiring everyone 8 years and older to wear a mask in public settings from July 27 to August 26. At schools, students from grades 3-12 and all adults have also been required to wear masks until further notice.

Kansas
Governor Laura Kelly issued an executive order on July 2 requiring face-coverings in public for everyone over the age of five. Some counties are allowed to opt-out of the governor’s health directives, however.

Michigan
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a mask order on July 10 for everyone over the age of four in any indoor public space and in “crowded outdoor spaces.” Whitmer also required businesses to direct their employees to wear face coverings and to deny service to customers who defy the order.

Minnesota
Governor Tim Walz issued a mask order that took effect July 25 for everyone over the age of five. The order, as well as the face-covering rules, do not require office workers working alone, in socially distanced areas or with walls above face height.

Montana
Governor Steve Bullock issued a mask order on July 15 requiring children age five and older to wear masks in indoor public spaces and outdoor activities where proper social distancing is not possible. Those counties with less than four active cases of COVID-19 will be exempt.

Ohio
Governor Mike DeWine issued a mask order on July 23 which requires everyone age 10 and older to wear masks in public indoor spaces and outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.

Wisconsin
Governor Tony Evers issued an emergency order to last from August 1-Sept. 28, which included a mask mandate. That rule required everyone five or older to wear masks in all indoor public settings enclosed outdoor areas and “strongly recommended” masks outdoors.


In the South . . .

Alabama
Gov. Kay Ivey issued a mask order, which has since been updated. The order, which took effect July 16 and ran until August 31, required that everyone over the age of six in indoor public spaces and public areas with ten or more people; the update required masks for students in second grade and above.

Arkansas
Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the state’s mask order, requiring children age ten and older to wear masks.

Kentucky
Governor Andy Beshear’s issued a mask order requiring masks from everyone over the age of five in most public settings; the order is currently set to expire on September 8.

Louisiana
Governor John Bel Edwards issued an order requiring children above the age of 7 to wear face covers; he has extended the order twice and allows parishes with less than 100 cases per 100,000 residents to opt-out.

Maryland
Governor Larry Hogan issued a mask order requiring all residents over the age of five to wear masks in indoor public spaces and outdoors when six feet of social distance is not possible.

Mississippi
Governor Tate Reeves issued a mask order on August 4 that would be in effect for two weeks. The COVID-19 guidance requires masks in all businesses and outdoors where social distancing is not possible.

North Carolina
Governor Roy Cooper implemented a mask order as part of its June 24 emergency plan, which required anyone over the age of two to wear face coverings.

Texas
Governor Greg Abbott’s mask order requiring children at the age of 10 and over to wear masks was implemented July 3; however, more than 250 counties have exceptions and the state has suffered 10,000 coronavirus-related.

Virginia
Governor Ralph Northam implemented a mask order on May 26, requiring those age 10 and up who are at indoor settings where the public can enter to wear masks. Employees who must interact with customers are also being asked to wear face masks.

West Virginia
Governor Jim Justice’s issued a mask order requiring everyone age 10 and up to wear face coverings indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.


In the Northeast . . .

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GettyThese two New Yorkers are posing in a photo in Puerto Rico; both the state and territory have mask mandates.

Connecticut
Governor Ned Lamont issued a mask order requiring face coverings for “any person in a public place in Connecticut who is unable to or does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person.” Children under the age of two or in childcare are exempt.

Delaware
Governor John Carney modified his state of emergency with an order recommending children between 2-12-years-old to wear face masks, and requiring all residents over the age of 12 to wear face coverings when in public.

District of Columbia (territory)
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a mask order requiring everyone ages three and up to wear masks when leaving home and required business to deny service to those not wearing masks.

Maine
Governor Janet Mills issued a mask order requiring everyone to wear face coverings in public settings wherever they cannot socially distance; the order also requires large retailers and all members of the restaurant industry to enforce those rules.

Massachusetts
Governor Charlie Baker has issued a mask order requiring everyone over the age of two to wear face coverings since May 6.

New Jersey
Governor Phil Murphy issued a mask order July 8, requiring everyone over the age of two to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor spaces; other state orders require construction and agricultural workers to also wear masks.

New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s mask order has required everyone over the age of two to wear masks when in public places where they are unable to maintain social distance since April 17.

Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Wolf issued a July 1 mask order being enforced by Health Secretary Rachel Levine; the order requires everyone age two and older to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public places.

Puerto Rico (territory)
Governor Wanda Vázquez issued a health order requiring face coverings at all public places.

Rhode Island
Governor Gina Raimondo issued an executive order on May 8 requiring face coverings for everyone over the age of two in all places where they cannot easily maintaining six feet of distance.

Vermont
Governor Phil Scott issued a mask order beginning August 1 requiring residents age two and up to wear a mask in all public settings where social distancing is unable to be maintained.


Is Your State One Without A Mask Mandate?

States that do not have a statewide mask mandate in place include the following:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Coronavirus case and death rates vary wildly across states without mask mandates, partly because some governors have issued more city-specific guidelines on masks, while others have taken steps to prevent any local authorities from issuing mask mandates.

For example, nearly all the states in the above list – except Georgia and Iowa – have mask mandates at the county level or in the state’s most populous cities (Miami-Dade County and the cities of Boise, St. Louis and Anchorage were issued mask mandates at a local level, for example).

However, Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, filed a lawsuit to prevent the mayor of Atlanta from implementing a mask mandate; he later withdrew the suit, but the state, where residents are “strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable,” continues to have high numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in areas without a mandate. Iowa’s governor, Kim Reynolds, has taken a similar stance; her emergency order does not mention face coverings and she has claimed that cities and counties are not authorized to mandate the wearing of masks.

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