Universal Masking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Many states and their health departments suggest face masks and some have even put rules in place to enforce them in public places.

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35 US states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico mandate face coverings in public (as of February 17, 2021: Source: AARP – Updated February 17, 2021):

Alabama 

Statewide order: Yes

The state’s mask order took effect July 16 and will now run through at least March 5 following extensions by Gov. Kay Ivey. It covers people over age 6 in all indoor public spaces, and in outdoor public areas where 10 or more people are gathered.

Learn more: Read Alabama’s latest mask order.

Alaska 

Statewide order: No

Alaska’s Department of Health Social Services “strongly encourages the wearing of masks in public,” but the state has not required it. Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, and the capital of Juneau are among several cities have have imposed local mandates.

Learn more: Read the Alaska health department’s mask guidance.

Arizona 

Statewide order: No

Masks are required for employees and customers of barbers and cosmetologists. They are recommended in other circumstances. Several cities and counties have full mask orders in place, including Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, and Pima County, which includes Tucson.

Learn more: Link to orders on business reopening and public health are on the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 emergency response page.

Arkansas 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced a statewide mask mandate at a July 16 press briefing. The order, which took effect July 20, exempts children under the age of 10.

Learn more: Read Arkansas’ mask order.

California 

Statewide order: Yes

Californians have been required since June 18 to mask up in “most settings outside the home.” The policy was updated June 29 to exempt children under age 2.

Learn more: Read the California Department of Public Health’s guidance for using face coverings.

Colorado 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Jared Polis’ order requires Coloradans over the age of 10 to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. It took effect July 17 and has been extended until at least March 6. Counties may be able to opt out if they meet state benchmarks for declining caseloads and several other public health criteria.    

Learn more: Read Colorado’s latest mask order and mask guidance.

Connecticut 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Ned Lamont’s mask order issued April 17 remains in force. It requires a mask or face covering 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.” It does not cover children under age 2, or children generally when they are in a child-care setting.

Learn more: Read Connecticut’s mask order.

Delaware 

Statewide order: Yes

A Dec. 3 update of Gov. John Carney’s state-of-emergency declaration requires Delawareans to wear face coverings in all public settings and at private indoor gatherings where people from other households are present, regardless of their ability to maintain physical distance. The order, which tightened a prior mask mandate issued in April and revised in September, exempts children below kindergarten age.

Learn more: Read Delaware’s guidance for face coverings.

District of Columbia 

Citywide order: Yes

People are required to wear masks when they leave home and “are likely to come into contact with another person” under Mayor Muriel Bowser’s July 22 order, which expanded an existing mask mandate. The new version lowers the exemption age from 9 to 2; extends the rule to common areas of apartment and condo complexes; and requires all businesses to deny entry to people without masks.

Learn more: Read the District’s mask order.

Florida 

Statewide order: No

Florida recommends but does not require face coverings for the general public. Several cities and large counties, including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Hillsborough (which includes Tampa), have mask requirements, but local governments are barred from assessing fines and penalties for noncompliance under a Sept. 25 executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Learn more: Read Florida’s public health advisory.

Georgia 

Statewide order: No

People are “strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable” outside the home. Gov. Brian Kemp revised his coronavirus health order Aug. 15 to allow local governments to impose limited mask mandates, as Atlanta and several other jurisdictions have sought to do, reversing a month-old ban on such local orders. Cities and counties that have 100 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people can enforce mask requirements on public property.

Learn more: Read Georgia’s emergency public health order.

Hawaii 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. David Ige’s COVID-19 emergency proclamation requires face covering for customers at or waiting to enter a place of business and for employees who have contact with customers or goods.

Learn more: Read Hawaii’s updated COVID-19 emergency order.

Idaho 

Statewide order: No

Idaho’s capital and largest city, Boise, requires masks in public, as do several other cities. The state’s Stay Healthy Guidelines, updated on June 13, recommend that employers “identify how personal use items such as masks, face coverings, and gloves may be required by employees, vendors, and/or patrons.”

Learn more: Read Idaho’s COVID-19 resource page.

Illinois 

Statewide order: Yes

Anyone who is over the age of 2 and medically able to wear a mask must do so in a public place when unable to maintain 6-foot distancing.

Learn more: Read Illinois’ guidance on public mask use.

Indiana 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s order requires Hoosiers age 8 and up to mask themselves in all indoor public settings and outdoors when they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Initially issued in late July, the mandate has been extended multiple times and currently runs through at least Feb. 28. 

Learn more: Read Indiana’s latest mask order.

Iowa 

Statewide order: No

Gov. Kim Reynolds lifted the state’s mask mandate Feb. 7, issuing a new emergency order that drops rules on face-covering and social distancing in favor of encouraging “reasonable public health measures” to reduce COVID-19 transmission in public places and private gatherings.  It replaced a mid-November directive that Iowans age 2 and up wear masks when they are in indoor public spaces and within 6 feet of people from other households for 15 minutes or more. Local mask mandates remain in effect in several cities, including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

Learn more: Read Iowa’s latest public health order and mask guidance.

Kansas 

Statewide order: Yes, but widely unenforced

Under an executive order issued by Gov. Laura Kelly in July 2020 and reissued in mid-November, Kansans over the age of 5 must wear masks in indoor public settings and outdoors when unable to stay 6 feet apart from people from other households. A state law passed in June allows counties to opt out of the order. As of February, 54 of Kansas’ 105 counties had mask mandates, down from a high of 62 in late November, according to tracking by the Kansas Association of Counties and the Kansas Health Institute. 

Learn more: Read Kansas’ mask order.

Kentucky 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order requires face covering for people “in situations that represent a high risk of COVID-19 transmission,” including most public settings. The mandate, issued in July, has been extended monthly, with the current order in force through at least the end of February. Children age 5 and under are exempt.

Learn more: Read Kentucky’s latest mask order.

Louisiana 

Statewide order: Yes

Face-covering is required in indoor and outdoor public spaces when it is not possible to maintain 6 feet of distance from people from other households, per a proclamation issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards on July 11 and extended through at least March 3. The mandate does not apply to children under 8 (although it encourages masking for those age 2 to 7).

Learn more: Read Louisiana’s mask order.

Maine 

Statewide order: Yes

An executive order issued Nov. 4 by Gov. Janet Mills strengthens a state mask mandate that had been in effect since May 1. The new order requires face-covering in indoor and outdoor public spaces “regardless of the ability to maintain physical distancing.” Prior orders did not apply to all public places and included an exception where distancing was possible. 

Learn more: Read Maine’s updated mask order.

Maryland 

Statewide order: Yes

Effective July 31, Marylanders over age 5 must wear masks in all indoor public spaces and outdoors when they are “unable to consistently maintain six feet of distance” from others. The order by Gov. Larry Hogan expands the state’s previous mask mandate, in force since April 18, which applied to retail and food-service establishments and had an age cutoff of 9.

Learn more: Read Maryland’s mask order.

Massachusetts 

Statewide order: Yes

As of Nov. 6, face coverings are required for people over age 5 in any public space, indoors or out, whether or not they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. The new order, issued Nov. 2 by Gov. Charlie Baker, tightens a mandate in effect since May that required masks “where social distancing is not possible.”

Learn more: Read Massachusetts’ revised mask order and guidance on face-covering

Michigan 

Statewide order: Yes

Masks are required for people over age 5 and up in most public settings under an order issued Oct. 5 and renewed Oct. 29 by the state Department of Health and Human Services. It replaced a similar mandate by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that was thrown into doubt when Michigan’s Supreme Court invalidated the state law under which Whitmer had been issuing emergency public-health order.

Learn more: Read Michigan’s current mask order.

Minnesota 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Tim Walz’s mask order took effect July 25, superseding a prior mandate that applied to employees at stores, restaurants and other consumer-facing businesses. Children age 5 and under are exempt. People are not required to wear a mask when working alone in an office or cubicle with walls above face height when social distancing is maintained, but must keep one handy for interacting with others.

Learn more: Read Minnesota’s mask order and a state FAQ on the face covering rules.

Mississippi 

Statewide order: No

Gov. Tate Reeves lifted Mississippi’s mask requirement on Sept. 30, about two months after it was imposed. On Oct. 19 he issued a new order mandating masks in indoor public settings in counties with high COVID-19 case rates. The order currently covers 75 of Mississippi’s 82 counties and has been extended until at least March 3. Face-covering is still required statewide at schools and “close contact personal care services” such as salons, barbershops and massage parlors.

Learn more: Read Mississippi’s mask order and COVID-19 guidance.

Missouri 

Statewide order: No

The state Department of Health and Senior Services recommends wearing a face covering in public. Gov. Mike Parson has said he does not intend to implement a statewide requirement. Several cities and counties have enacted mask mandates, including Kansas City and St. Louis.

Learn more: Read the Missouri health department’s mask guidance.

Montana 

Statewide order: No

Gov. Greg Gianforte rescinded the state’s mask mandate Feb. 12. The previous order, issued by then-Gov. Steve Bullock in July 2020, directed Montanans age 5 and up to wear masks in indoor public spaces and at outdoor gatherings where social distancing could not be maintained. Gianforte linked lifting the mandate to progress in Montana’s vaccination program and passage of a state law protecting businesses and health care providers from lawsuits by employees and customers who contracted the coronavirus. Some counties, including Gallatin, Missoula, and Lewis & Clark, maintain local mask orders.

Learn more: Read a statement from the governor’s office on lifting the mask mandate.

Nebraska 

Statewide order: No

Masks are required for both clients and staff at barbershops, salons and other personal-care businesses. They are recommended for restaurant employees and for the general population when in public. Lincoln and Omaha have enacted broader local orders that require face-covering in most indoor public places. Other cities and towns have weighed mask orders but Gov. Pete Ricketts has questioned whether they have authority to enact them under state law.

Learn more: Read the Nebraska health department’s COVID-19 guidance for the public.

Nevada 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Steve Sisolak instituted a mandatory face-covering policy on June 24, requiring most people over age 9 to wear a mask “in any public space.”

Learn more: Read Nevada’s mask order.

New Hampshire  

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency order, effective Nov. 20, requires people over age 5 to wear masks in all public spaces, indoors and out, if they are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from people outside their households. K-12 schools are exempt. The order expands a previously patchwork set of mask rules that applied only to large gatherings and certain businesses. It took effect on Nov. 20 and has been extended through at least March 26.

Learn more: Read New Hampshire’s mask order and the latest extension.

New Jersey 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order of July 8 mandates face covering in indoor and outdoor public spaces for anyone over age 2. Separate state orders require construction and agricultural workers to wear masks on the job.

Learn more: Read New Jersey’s mask order.

New Mexico 

Statewide order: Yes

New Mexico has had a mask requirement in place since May 16. Unlike in most states, it applies to people while exercising in gyms, a restriction Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham added in July. She has ordered that the state “aggressively enforce” the rule, with violators subject to a $100 fine and retailers required to ensure customers are wearing masks.

Learn more: Read New Mexico’s mask order.

New York 

Statewide order: Yes

New York has had a mask requirement since April 17. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order applies to anyone over age 2 who can “medically tolerate a face covering” when in a public place and unable to maintain social distancing.

Learn more: Read New York’s mask order.

North Carolina 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Roy Cooper expanded the state’s mask requirement, in effect since June, in a Nov. 23 executive order. Under the revised mandate, in effect until at least Feb. 28, people over age 5 are  required to wear a face covering in any indoor space where someone from another household is present, regardless of physical distancing, and outdoors if it is not possible to stay 6 feet from others.

Learn more: Read North Carolina’s mask guidance and face-covering FAQs.

Pennsylvania

Statewide order: Yes

Pennsylvania mandates “universal face coverings” under a Nov. 18 order from state Health Secretary Rachel Levine, which strengthened a mask order that had been in effect since July 1. The new policy requires people age 2 and up to cover their faces indoors (including in homes) when people from other households are present, even if they can stay 6 feet apart, and at all times outdoors when unable to maintain physical distancing.

Learn more: Read Pennsylvania’s updated mask order and an FAQ on the policy.

Puerto Rico

Territory-wide order: Yes

Puerto Ricans are required to wear masks “at all times” in public places under an order issued by then-Gov. Wanda Vázquez last May and extended by her successor, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, until at least March 14.

Learn more: Read Puerto Rico’s latest COVID-19 health order (Spanish).

Rhode Island

Statewide order: Yes

Masks have been mandatory since May 8 under Gov. Gina Raimondo’s executive order, which requires face coverings for people over age 2 in retail outlets, and in other public spaces unless they “can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other people.”

Learn more: Read Rhode Island’s mask order.

South Carolina

Statewide order: No

Numerous counties and cities, including Charleston and Columbia, have instituted mask mandates. Gov. Henry McMaster has encouraged masking but says a state requirement would be unenforceable. State guidelines encourage reopening businesses to have employees wear masks, “especially when in settings in which social distancing is not feasible.”

Learn more: Read the state Department of Health and Environmental Control’s COVID-19 guidelines for businesses.

South Dakota

Statewide order: No

The South Dakota Department of Health recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

Learn more: Read the state health department’s COVID-19 information page.

Tennessee

Statewide order: No

An April 28 executive order from Gov. Bill Lee urges people to “wear face coverings in public places,” as do state health guidelines. Jurisdictions covering about 70 percent of the state’s population have enacted local mask mandates, including the counties that are home to Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Learn more: Read Tennessee’s COVID-19 health guidelines.

Texas

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask order took effect July 3. Children under 10 are excepted. Counties with 30 or fewer new COVID-19 cases in the previous 14 days can apply to the state for exemption. As of Feb. 17, 21 of the state’s 254 counties had exemptions due to low case counts.

Learn more: Read Texas’ mask order.

Utah

Statewide order: Yes

Utahns over the age of 2 are required to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces if they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from someone from a separate household, and outdoors when within 6 feet of any such person. The order, which took effect Nov. 9 under then-Gov. Gary Herbert, has been extended until at least Feb. 22 under his successor, Gov. Spencer Cox. Masks are required in K-12 schools through June 15.

Learn more: Read Utah’s extended mask order.

Vermont

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Phil Scott’s mask directive took effect Aug. 1 and has been extended several times since. It applies to Vermonters age 2 and up whenever they are in public settings, indoors or outdoors, “wherever close contact is unavoidable.”

Learn more: Read Vermont’s mask order and face-covering guidance.

Virginia

Statewide order: Yes

Effective Dec. 14, Virginians age 5 and up must wear masks in retail and commercial businesses and other indoor settings “shared with others,” and outdoors when unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from people outside their families, under an executive order by Gov. Ralph Northam. A previous mask order issued in May and amended in November only applied to indoor public settings. The latest order is in force through Feb. 28.

Learn more: Read Virginia’s expanded mask order.

Washington

Statewide order: Yes

A state public health order that took effect June 26 requires mask use in indoor public settings and outdoors when 6-foot distancing cannot be maintained, for people age 5 and older. Gov. Jay Inslee’s mask directives also mandate that businesses require employees to wear face coverings and deny entry to unmasked customers.

Learn more: Read Washington’s Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings.

West Virginia

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Jim Justice tightened West Virginia’s mask mandate on Nov. 14 to require that people age 9 and up wear face coverings at all times in indoor public spaces, except when in the act of eating or drinking at a restaurant. The previous order, which had been in effect since early July, allowed people to remove masks indoors if they could maintain adequate social distance from others.

Learn more: Read West Virginia’s updated mask requirements.

Wisconsin

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Tony Evers issued a new mask mandate Feb. 4 after state lawmakers voted to strike down his prior public health emergency orders. The Republican-led legislature contends Evers, a Democrat, overstepped his authority by repeatedly issuing pandemic-related emergency orders without lawmakers’ approval. The current order, like those issued and extended by the governor since August, requires people ages 5 and up to wear masks in indoor public settings, and in enclosed outdoor spaces such as park structures, when someone from another household is present. It is in force until March 20, pending additional legislative action or court challenges.

Learn more: Read Wisconsin’s latest mask order.

Wyoming

Statewide order: Yes

Face coverings are required in most indoor public settings, including retail and commercial businesses, government buildings and health care facilities — and when waiting in line to enter such places — under a state health department order that took effect Dec. 9 and has been extended through at least Feb. 28. Children under 12 are exempt, but masking is encouraged for those ages 3 to 11. Counties can opt out if the exemption is approved by both the county and state health officers.

Learn more: Read Wyoming’s updated mask order.

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