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State-by-State Guide to Face Mask Requirements

More states, cities and counties adopt indoor mandates as omicron variant spreads

a woman wearing a face mask goes grocery shopping

Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

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Nine states — California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington — require most people to wear masks in indoor public places, whether or not they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have similar orders in place.

Connecticut has an indoor mask mandate that extends only to the unvaccinated, and Rhode Island has a hybrid order that requires face-covering for all in large venues but gives smaller businesses leeway based on patrons' vaccination status. Washington is the only state with an outdoor mask order, requiring face-covering at outside events attended by 500 or more people.

Many states eased or eliminated mask orders in May and June after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said fully vaccinated people — those who are at least two weeks past receiving their second Pfizer or Moderna shot or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine — can safely forgo face-covering in most public settings.

As the delta variant of the coronavirus fueled a new surge in COVID-19 cases over the summer, the federal health agency issued revised guidance in July, recommending that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with substantial or high rates of COVID-19 transmission. (You can check your area's risk level on the CDC's website.)

Several states and a number of large cities and counties reinstated mask orders in the wake of the CDC recommendations, and some have extended or tightened their mandates amid concerns over the emerging, highly transmissible omicron variant.

The CDC also recommends face-covering for all people, regardless of vaccination status, in health care and long-term care facilities, prisons, homeless shelters, on public transit, and in transportation hubs like airports and bus and train stations. Most states are following that guidance.

To date, 29 states that had orders broadly requiring residents to wear masks in public have lifted them. Eleven states have not imposed mandates at any point during the pandemic, and some, including Florida, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee and Texas, have moved via legislation or executive action to prevent local governments and school districts from doing so.

Remaining state mandates and those in cities and counties vary in detail (for example, exemptions for children range in cutoff age from 2 to 9), but broadly speaking, they require masks in indoor public spaces such as restaurants and stores. 

Generally, there are exceptions for people with disabilities or medical conditions that prevent the use of face coverings and allowances for certain activities and situations where masking is difficult or hinders communication, such as swimming, eating and drinking at a restaurant or bar, getting dental treatment, or speaking with a hearing-impaired person. Some orders exempt places of worship.

Where there are no state or local requirements, businesses and other private entities may set their own mask policies.

Here’s where each state stands on the use of face masks as of Jan. 20.


Alabama 

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 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson lifted his 8-month-old mask mandate March 31. 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 state law barring local governments from imposing mask orders, enacted in April, was struck down by an Arkansas judge Dec. 29.

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

California 

Masks are required in indoor public settings for all individuals age 2 and over, regardless of vaccination status. The universal mandate, instituted in mid-December, replaced a prior order covering only unvaccinated people and will be in place until at Feb. 15. 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 updated 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 

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. Bridgeport and New Haven have citywide indoor mask mandates covering both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Stamford and Hartford lifted similar local orders in late October and early November, respectively. 

Learn more: Read Connecticut’s current mask guidance.

Delaware 

Effective Jan. 11, masks are required for people kindergarten age and older in indoor public settings, except while eating or drinking in restaurants and bars, and on public transportation. Gov. John Carney's face-covering order includes an exemption for houses of worship. Prior to the new mandate, masks had not been broadly required in Delaware since May 2021. 

Learn more: Read Delaware's updated COVID-19 emergency order.

District of Columbia 

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 new COVID-19 action plan.

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 mask guidance.

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 current 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 order in February 2021. The following May, she signed legislation 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 

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.

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Statue of chef in New Orleans wearing a face mask holding a sign that says "stop the spread-wear a mask"

Sophia Germer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A restaurant sign reminds people to wear a mask in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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. New Orleans reinstated a citywide indoor mask order Jan. 12.

Learn more: Read Louisiana's mask guidance.

Maine 

Maine has not had a mandate in place since late May but recommends masking in public places indoors in counties with substantial or high rates of COVID-19 transmission, which as of Jan. 7 included the entire state. Face-covering is required on public transportation. Portland instituted a citywide mask order Jan. 5 that covers people ages 2 and over in indoor public spaces, with an exception for establishments that require proof of vaccination to enter.  

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 five largest counties — Montgomery, Prince George's, Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard — 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 recommended for people age 5 and older in indoor spaces outside the home and required in 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' current 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 general mask mandate May 14. Face-covering is still required in schools and child care settings. The Minnesota Department of Health recommends masking in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor settings. Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Duluth have municipal orders requiring most people to mask up in indoor public spaces.

Learn more: Read the state health department's mask recommendations.

Mississippi 

The Mississippi State Department of Health recommends face-covering in all indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. A statewide order mandating indoor masking in counties with high COVID-19 case rates expired in March 2021.

Learn more: Read Mississippi’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

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, 2021. 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 signed legislation in May invalidating local mask mandates, effectively ending face-covering orders in Gallatin, Missoula and other counties.

Learn more: Read Montana's mask guidance.

Nebraska 

The state Department of Health and Human Services recommends people wear face coverings in public when unable to maintain social distancing. Masks are required in indoor public places in Omaha and Lincoln.

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 the entire state through at least Jan. 28.

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. The cities of Nashua and Keene instituted mask mandates in December covering places of business and other indoor public facilities.

Learn more: Read New Hampshire's "Universal Best Practices" document for coronavirus control.

New Jersey 

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 New Jersey's mask guidelines.

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 was implemented in August, replacing a prior state health department order that required indoor masking only for individuals who were not yet fully vaccinated, and is in effect through at least Feb. 4.

Learn more: Read New Mexico's latest COVID-19 emergency 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 Feb. 1. 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, Fayetteville, 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.

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North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Health recommends residents follow CDC masking guidance. There has been no statewide mandate since Jan. 18, 2021. 

Learn more: Read the state health department'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

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 an English translation of Puerto Rico's mask order.

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, 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 Rhode Island's mask order and face-covering FAQs.

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, repealed its mask mandate in November, but surrounding Richland County still requires face-covering in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

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

South Dakota

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

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

Utah's 5-month-old order requiring masks in most public settings ended April 10 under state legislation that phased out various COVID-19 public health restrictions. Salt Lake and Summit counties imposed mandates Jan. 7, requiring people to mask up in indoor public settings and outdoors if waiting in a line, but Gov. Spencer Cox exempted state-run buildings from the local orders. 

Learn more: Read Utah's mask guidance.

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.

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Man and woman in Arlington, Virginia walk past a mural that says It Will Get Better while wearing a mask.

OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Shoppers are required to wear face masks in Arlington, Virginia.

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

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. Dane County, which includes Madison, requires masks in enclosed public spaces unless all those inside are fully vaccinated. Milwaukee adopted an indoor mask mandate Jan. 18 but the municipal measure does not include any enforcement mechanism. 

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

Wyoming

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.

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