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.

Face Mask Wearing Practice – Autism Connection of PA
Making Mask-Wearing Easier for Autistic Adults and Those with Sensory Needs – Autism Speaks

6 US states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico mandate face coverings in public (as of  September 13, 2021: Source: AARP – Updated January 1, 2022):

Alabama 

Statewide order: No

Alabama’s mask mandate expired April 9. The state Department of Public Health recommends face-covering in public as part of its COVID-19 safety guidance. Municipal mask mandates in Birmingham and Montgomery expired in May.

Learn more: Read the Alabama health department’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

Alaska 

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, lifted a municipal indoor mask mandate Dec. 8; a similar order remains in place in Juneau, the state capital.

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

Arizona 

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order March 25 lifting all state COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and barring cities and counties from enforcing mask mandates except in government buildings and on public transit. Previously, Arizona required face-covering for employees and customers of barbers and cosmetologists, and several jurisdictions, including the state’s largest counties, had full mask orders in place.

Learn more: Read Ducey’s order ending COVID-19  restrictions.

Arkansas 

Statewide order: No

Gov. Asa Hutchinson lifted his 8-month-old mask mandate March 31, saying the state had met targets for COVID-19 case counts set out several weeks earlier as a basis for rescinding the order. Health officials continue to recommend that Arkansans wear masks in public when unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from people outside their households. A new state law bars local governments from imposing mask mandates.

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

California 

Statewide order: Yes

Masks are required in indoor public settings for all individuals age 2 and over, regardless of vaccination status. The universal mandate took effect Dec. 15, replacing a prior order covering only unvaccinated people, and will be in place for at least one month. Masking is also required for all people in schools, health care and long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless and emergency shelters, and on public transit. Los Angeles County requires face-covering at large outdoor events.

Learn more: Read California’s state face-covering guidance.

Colorado 

Gov. Jared Polis ended Colorado’s mandate May 14, saying the state is shifting from “mask-wearing requirements to mask-wearing suggestions” in most settings. Face-covering is required in residential care facilities and on public transportation, regardless of vaccination status. Denver and surrounding Adams, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties require most people to mask up in indoor public places unless the owner or operator of a business or facility can verify that 95 percent of those inside are fully vaccinated. Boulder and Larimer counties also have indoor mask mandates in effect.

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

Connecticut 

Statewide order: Yes

Masks are required for unvaccinated people age 2 and over in indoor public places and for all people in school buildings, health care facilities, group residential settings such as nursing homes and prisons, and on public transit. New Haven has a citywide indoor mask mandate covering both vaccinated and unvaccinated people; Hartford lifted a similar local order Nov. 8. 

Learn more: Read Connecticut’s current mask guidance.

Delaware 

Statewide order: No

Gov. John Carney lifted Delaware’s general mask order May 21. The state continues to require face-covering in schools, state-owned buildings and settings where the CDC recommends maintaining mask rules, such as on public transit and at health care facilities. Otherwise, masking is recommended for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Delawareans in public places. 

Learn more: Read Delaware’s updated mask policy.

District of Columbia 

Citywide order: Yes

Mayor Muriel Bowser reimposed the District’s indoor mask mandate, effective Dec. 21, as part of a new COVID-19 emergency declaration prompted by the rapid spread of the omicron variant. Through at least Jan. 31, face-covering is required for people over age 2 in indoor public places whether or not they are fully vaccinated. The order came a month after Bowser had largely lifted a mask mandate instituted amid the delta surge in July.

Learn more: Read the District’s current mask order.

Florida 

Florida recommends but has not required face coverings for the general public. Several cities and large counties, including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Hillsborough (which includes Tampa), had mask requirements, but Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order May 3 that barred local governments and school systems from imposing COVID-19 restrictions, including mask rules.

Learn more: Read Florida’s order barring local mask mandates.

Georgia 

The governor’s office and the state Department of Public Health recommend masking in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Gov. Brian Kemp sought last summer to bar local mask mandates but eased his order in August 2020 to allow cities and counties to impose limited face-covering rules. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms reinstituted a citywide mandate Dec. 21, requiring people age 10 and older to mask up in all public settings indoors. Savannah, Macon and Athens also have mask orders in effect.

Learn more: Read the Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 guidance.

Hawaii 

Gov. David Ige lifted the state’s outdoor mask mandate May 25. Hawaii’s amended mask directive still requires residents ages 5 and up to wear a face-covering in most indoor public settings and requires businesses to refuse admission or service to maskless patrons in most circumstances.

Learn more: Read Hawaii’s amended face-covering order.

Idaho 

Idaho’s latest “Stay Healthy Guidelines,” dated May 11, recommend that employers determine how masks and other protective gear “may be reqiured” in their places of business. Boise, Idaho’s capital and largest city, dropped its mask mandate in May, as did several other juristictions. Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order May 28 restoring local governments’ authority to make their own mask rules, reversing a move by Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin to strip such local control in an order she issued while Little was at a conference out of state. 

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

Illinois 

Masks are required in indoor public settings for people over age 2, regardless of vaccination status, except when they are actively eating or drinking in bars and restaurants or at workplaces where they can consistently maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Previously, the state’s mask mandate only applied to people who have not been inoculated against COVID-19.

Learn more: Read Illinois’ expanded face-covering order.

Indiana 

The state’s 8-month-old mask mandate became a “mask advisory” April 6. Hoosiers age 8 and up are encouraged to wear masks in all indoor public settings and outdoors when they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Face-covering remains mandatory in state buildings, K-12 schools and at COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites. Local mask orders in Indianapolis and surrounding Marion County expired June 7.

Learn more: Read Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order relaxing mask rules.

Iowa 

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. Reynolds signed legislation May 20 barring local governments from compelling businesses to require masks. Iowa City mandates masks for people over age 2 in indoor public places and outdoors when they cannot maintain social distancing. City officials say the order is legal because it is binding on individuals, not businesses.

Learn more: Read Iowa’s COVID-19 prevention guidance.

Kansas 

Kansas lawmakers revoked the state’s mask requirement April 1, hours after Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order intended to extend it, under a state law passed the previous month that gave a panel of top legislators authority to overturn the governor’s emergency orders. Kansas City, Kansas, and Wyandotte County, which have a unified government, repealed their indoor mask mandate Dec. 16.

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

Kentucky 

Statewide order: No

Kentucky’s general mask mandate ended June 11 along with the state’s remaining COVID-19 health restrictions. Masks are still required for people over age 5 in certain settings, including  schools and child-care centers, medical and long-term care facilities, prisons, homeless shelters, and on public transit.

Learn more: Read a statement from Gov. Andy Beshear’s office on lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

Louisiana 

Gov. John Bel Edwards lifted the state’s general indoor mask order Oct. 27 as a delta-fueled spike in COVID-19 cases eased. The mandate, Louisiana’s second of the pandemic, had been in effect since early August. Face-covering is still required by the state in K-12 schools (districts can opt out of the mandate if they are following CDC quarantine guidelines) and by federal regulations on mass transit and in health care facilities.

Learn more: Read Louisiana’s updated mask rules.

Maine 

As of May 24, “Maine is no longer requiring masks in most settings,” according to the state’s face-covering FAQs. People ages 5 and older still must mask up indoors at schools and child-care facilities under Gov. Janet Mills’ latest face-covering order. The state continues to recommend masking for people who are not yet fully vaccinated.  

Learn more: Read Maine’s mask FAQs.

Maryland 

Gov. Larry Hogan ended Maryland’s statewide mask mandate along with all other COVID-19 emergency orders July 1. Masking remains the rule on public transportation and in transit hubs, per a federal mandate. The city of Baltimore and the state’s two largest counties, Montgomery and Prince George’s, have local orders requiring most people, vaccinated or not, to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.

Learn more: Read the Maryland Department of Commerce’s face-covering FAQs.

Massachusetts 

The state’s general face-covering order was lifted May 29. Masks are still required for people age 5 and older in some settings, including K-12 schools, health care and long-term care facilities, emergency shelters, prisons and on public transportation. Boston has imposed a citywide mask mandate covering all people over age 2 in indoor public places except when eating or drinking. Springfield, the state’s third-largest city, requires face-covering in indoor public settings and at outdoor gatherings where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Learn more: Read Massachusetts’ updated guidance on face-covering.

Michigan 

Michigan’s mask mandate ended June 22 along with all COVID-related capacity limits on gatherings. The state had already lifted mask orders for fully vaccinated Michiganders in indoor public places and for all people outdoors. Face-covering will still be required to “protect vulnerable populations” in long-term care facilities, prisons and housing for farm workers. 

Learn more: Read Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s June 17 announcement on rescinding COVID restrictions.

Minnesota 

Gov. Tim Walz ended the state’s mask mandate May 14, moving up his timetable in response to the CDC guidelines. He had previously announced plans to lift the order July 1 if at least 70 percent of Minnesota’s 16-and-older population was vaccinated. Masks are still required in schools and child care settings. Minneapolis and St. Paul lifted municipal indoor mask orders June 1 and 2, respectively.

Learn more: Read the governor’s announcement on lifting the mask order.

Mississippi 

Gov. Tate Reeves lifted Mississippi’s statewide mask requirement on Sept. 30, about two months after it was imposed. He subsequently issued a new order mandating masks in indoor public settings in counties with high COVID-19 case rates. That directive, which eventually covered most of the state, expired March 3. Face-covering is still required at K-12 schools.

Learn more: Read Mississippi’s mask order repeal.

Missouri 

The state Department of Health and Senior Services recommends that all people age 2 and older mask up in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. St. Louis County requires masking for all people age 5 and over in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Similar orders in Kansas City and surrounding Jackson County ended Nov. 4 and 12, respectively.

Learn more: Read the Missouri health department’s COVID-19 prevention guidance.

Montana 

Gov. Greg Gianforte rescinded the state’s mask mandate Feb. 12. The previous order, issued by then-Gov. Steve Bullock in July, 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 signed legislation in May invalidating local mask mandates, effectively ending face-covering orders in Gallatin, Missoula and other counties.

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

Nebraska 

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends people wear face coverings in public when unable to maintain social distancing. An indoor mask mandate for the city of Lincoln and surrounding Lancaster County took effect Aug. 26.

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

Nevada 

Nevadans over age 9 are required to mask up in indoor public places, regardless of their vaccination status, in counties that meet the CDC criteria for high or substantial rates of COVID-19 transmission. In counties that have maintained moderate or low transmission for at least two weeks, face-covering is required only for unvaccinated people. The more stringent mandate covers 13 of the state’s 17 counties through at least Jan. 6, among them Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, and Washoe County, home to Reno.

Learn more: Read Nevada’s mask guidance and see the mandate status for each county.

New Hampshire  

Gov. Chris Sununu allowed New Hampshire’s the state’s mask mandate to expire April 16, about six months after it was implemented. The state’s COVID-19 guidance for businesses recommends mask use to stem transmission. Face-covering is required for all people on public transportation, per CDC orders. It is encouraged in all settings for people who are immunocompromised, and for those at high risk of infection when in crowds indoors.

Learn more: Read New Hampshire’s “Universal Best Practices” document for coronavirus control.

New Jersey 

Statewide order: No

Gov. Phil Murphy lifted New Jersey’s general face-covering order May 28. Masking is strongly recommended in crowded indoor settings and required for people over age 2 in “high-risk areas” such as schools, child-care centers, health care facilities, homeless shelters, prisons and on public transit. Several cities and towns, including Newark and Paterson, mandate masking in public places indoors.

Learn more: Read Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order lifting most COVID-19 restrictions.

New Mexico 

New Mexicans age 2 and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public settings, regardless of their vaccination status, except when eating or drinking. The current mandate is in force until at least Dec. 10. It was implemented in August, replacing a prior state health department order that required indoor masking only for individuals who were not yet fully vaccinated.   

Learn more: Read New Mexico’s latest mask order.

New York 

Face-covering is required for people over age 2 in all indoor public places except businesses and venues that have a vaccine requirement for entry. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s order, which replaced a prior mandate that covered only unvaccinated people, is in effect until at least Jan. 15. Masks are also required for all on public transit and in health care and long-term care facilities; detention centers; homeless shelters; schools and child-care centers; and state-regulated group homes for people with developmental disabilities, mental health issues or substance abuse problems.

Learn more: Read New York’s latest mask order.

North Carolina 

Gov. Roy Cooper ended the state’s general mask mandate May 14. Face-covering is still required statewide in schools, child-care facilities, children’s camps, and settings designated by the CDC for continued masking, such as hospitals and transit hubs. Where masks are required, children under age 5 are exempt. The city of Raleigh and the counties that are home to Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro and Asheville have instituted indoor mask mandates covering vaccinated as well as unvaccinated people.

Learn more: Read North Carolina’s order lifting most mask requirements and its face-covering FAQs.

North Dakota

Statewide order: No

Gov. Doug Burgum instituted a statewide mask requirement on Nov. 14 amid a rapid rise in the state’s COVID-19 case count. After extending the mandate in December, Burgum allowed it to lapse when it expired Jan. 18, citing a decline in case numbers. 

Learn more: Read the North Dakota Department of Health’s mask guidance.

Ohio

The state’s mask mandate expired June 2 as the Ohio Department of Health lifted most other pandemic health orders. COVID-19 safety precautions remain in place in nursing homes and other group residential settings where there is heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus. Masks are required in indoor public places in Columbus, the state’s capital and largest city, with the exception of state, federal and religious buildings.

Learn more: Read Gov. Mike DeWine’s statement on ending COVID-19 health orders.

Oklahoma

Gov. Kevin Stitt has called on Oklahomans to wear masks in public but rejected calls for a state mandate. Local mask mandates in the state’s largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, ended April 30 and May 1, respectively.

Learn more: Read the Oklahoma health department’s COVID-19 guidance.

Oregon

Oregonians age 5 and over have been required since mid-August to mask up in most indoor public spaces. An expanded mask order covering crowded outdoor settings was lifted Nov. 23 as the state reported steadily declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Learn more: Read Oregon’s mask guidance.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s mask mandate was rescinded June 28. Face-covering is required in health care facilities, group residential settings such as long-term care facilities, prisons and homeless shelters, and on public transit, as directed by the CDC. The city of Philadelphia implemented a local mask order Aug. 12, mandating face-covering at indoor businesses and institutions unless the establishment requires vaccination for all employees and patrons. 

Learn more: Read the Pennsylvania health department’s mask FAQs.

Puerto Rico

Territory-wide order: Yes

Masks are required in public places indoors, regardless of vaccination status, by order of the territorial Department of Health, to which Gov. Pedro Pierluisi ceded authority for establishing COVID-19 protocols in early July. Children under age 2 are exempt. The order took effect July 28, less than a month after the governor had lifted the mask rule for fully vaccinated individuals. 

Learn more: Read the Puerto Rico health department’s COVID-19 prevention page (Spanish).

Rhode Island

Masking is mandated for all people age 2 and over, regardless of vaccination status, at indoor businesses and venues with a capacity of 250 or more. Gov. Dan McKee’s executive order, which took effect Dec. 20 and is in force through Jan. 18, gives smaller public establishments three options: Require masks for all, require vaccination for entry, or require masks for people who do not show proof of vaccination.

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

South Carolina

Gov. Henry McMaster has encouraged unvaccinated South Carolinians to mask up but did not impose a statewide mandate and issued an executive order May 11 invalidating existing local face-covering rules in several jurisdictions. Columbia, the state’s capital and second-largest city, and surrounding Richland County have adopted new mandates that require masking in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Columbia’s order also covers outdoor settings where social distancing is “impractical or impossible.”

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

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

Gov. Bill Lee did not impose a statewide mandate and signed legislation Nov. 12 that severely limits local governments’ authority to enact their own mask rules. An indoor mask mandate in Shelby County, home to Memphis, ended Oct. 27.

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

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state’s 8-month-old mask mandate March 10. His new directive says Texans are “strongly encouraged” to wear masks in public but it bars local governments from enforcing their own face-covering mandates.

Learn more: Read Texas’ mask order repeal.

Utah

Statewide order: No

Utah’s 5-month-old order requiring masks in most public settings ended April 10 under state legislation that phases out various COVID-19 public health restrictions. Face-covering requirements in state government buildings and K-12 schools were lifted in May and June, respectively.

Learn more: Read Utah’s state law curbing mask mandates and other pandemic emergency orders.

Vermont

Gov. Phil Scott lifted Vermont’s mask mandate and all other COVID-19 restrictions June 15 as the state crossed a threshold of 80 percent of eligible residents receiving at least one vaccine dose. Masks are required for all people, fully vaccinated or not, on public transportation and in health care and long-term care facilities.

Learn more: Read the Vermont Department of Health’s mask guide.

Virginia

Gov. Ralph Northam’s order ending statewide COVID-19 restrictions took effect May 28, two weeks after he effectively lifted Virginia’s universal mask mandate to align with the CDC guidance. Employees at retail stores, restaurants, gyms and other businesses directly serving customers are still required to wear masks; patrons are encouraged to do so. Face-covering also remains the rule in schools.

Learn more: Read Virginia’s latest mask order.

Washington

Statewide order: Yes

Masking is required in most indoor public settings and at outdoor events attended by more than 500 people, regardless of vaccination status. The order applies to people age 5 and over in indoor public spaces, with narrow exceptions for certain situations where people are working indoors alone or in areas not generally accessible to the public.

Learn more: Read the state Department of Health’s current mask guidance.

West Virginia

Gov. Jim Justice signed an executive order June 20 revoking the state’s 11-month-old mask mandate. In its final weeks the directive had covered unvaccinated people age 9 and up in indoor public spaces. Face-covering is still required in certain settings per CDC guidelines, including medical facilities and transportation hubs, and West Virginia businesses and school systems may require people to mask up. 

Learn more: Read West Virginia’s current and past face-covering orders.

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate March 31. In a 4-3 vote on a case brought by Republican state legislators, the court ruled that Evers, a Democrat, overstepped his authority by repeatedly extending pandemic-related emergency orders without lawmakers’ approval. The governor had renewed the mask order several times since issuing it in August 2020. Dane County, which includes Madison, requires masks for people age 2 and up in “any enclosed space open to the public,” with an exception for places where all those inside are fully vaccinated.

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

Wyoming

Statewide order: No

Gov. Mark Gordon rescinded the state’s 3-month-old mask mandate March 16. The state health department continues to recommend mask use in public places “when common-sense physical distancing cannot be maintained.” 

Learn more: Read Wyoming’s latest public health order.