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State-by-State Guide to Face Mask Requirements

34 states and the District of Columbia now mandate face-covering in public

Woman walking next to the beach wearing a face mask, a sign encouraging social distancing is in the background.

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Mississippi came under a statewide mask mandate Aug. 4, becoming the 34th state to require people to wear face coverings in public to curb the spread of COVID-19. The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico also have mask orders in place.

State mandates vary in details (for example, exemptions for children range in cutoff age from 2 to 12), but broadly speaking, they require masks in indoor public spaces such as restaurants and stores, on public transit and ride-hailing services, and outdoors when unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.

There are generally exceptions for people with disabilities or medical conditions that prevent the use of face coverings, and allowances for certain situations where masking is difficult, unnecessary or hinders communication (for example, when swimming, eating, exercising alone, getting dental treatment or speaking with a hearing-impaired person). Some state rules also include exemptions for people attending religious services.

Here’s where each state stands on the use of face masks as of Aug. 17.


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Alabama 

Statewide order: Yes

The state’s mask order took effect July 16 and will now run through at least Oct. 2 following extensions by Gov. Kay Ivey. It covers people over age 6 in all indoor public spaces, and in public areas outdoors where 10 or more people are gathered. The updated order also mandates masks for students in second grade and up when schools reopen.

Learn more: Read Alabama’s updated 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, has a mask mandate.

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 major cities have instituted mask orders.

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 Oct. 12. 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 mask order.

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 state-of-emergency declaration by Gov. John Carney requires Delawareans over age 12 to “wear face coverings in public settings.” Masks are recommended but not required for children ages 2 to 12.

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.

Learn more: Read Florida's public health advisory and COVID-19 response page.

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 requiring Hoosiers age 8 and up to mask themselves in most public settings took effect July 27 and has been extended through at least Sept. 25. It also sets detailed mask requirements for reopening schools, with students in grades 3-12 and all adults required to cover their faces when on school property, until further notice.

Learn more: Read Indiana’s mask order.

Iowa 

Statewide order: No

State officials have encouraged mask use. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ emergency order, most recently updated June 25, does not mention face coverings among its public health provisions. She has said cities and counties do not have the authority to enact mask mandates.

Learn more: Read the Iowa Department of Public Health's guidance on face coverings.

Kansas 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order July 2 requiring face covering in public. It applies to most people over the age of 5. However, a state law passed in June allows Kansas counties to opt out of gubernatorial health directives, and most are not following the mask order.

Learn more: Read Kansas’ mask order.

Kentucky 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Andy Beshear's July 9 executive order requires face covering for people “in situations that represent a high risk of COVID-19 transmission,” including most public settings. The mandate, initially set to expire on Aug. 8, has been extended through at least Oct. 7. Children age 5 and under are exempt.

Learn more: Read Kentucky's updated mask order.

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Statue of chef in New Orleans wearing a face mask holding a sign that says

Sophia Germer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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

Louisiana 

Statewide order: Yes

Public face-covering is required through at least Aug. 28, per a proclamation issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards on July 11 and extended on July 22 and Aug. 4. The mandate does not apply to children under 8 (although it encourages masking those age 2 to 7) and includes an opt-out for parishes with fewer than 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

Learn more: Read Louisiana's mask order.

Maine 

Statewide order: Yes

An executive order in effect since May 1 requires people to wear face coverings “in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain.” Gov. Janet Mills beefed up the order in early July, requiring large stores, restaurants, lodging establishments, and outdoor bars and tasting rooms to enforce the mask rules.

Learn more: Read Maine's 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 cut-off of 9.

Learn more: Read Maryland's mask order.

Massachusetts 

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Charlie Baker's executive order, in effect since May 6, requires face coverings for people over age 2 in any public space “where social distancing is not possible.”

Learn more: Read Massachusetts’ mask order.

Michigan 

Statewide order: Yes

People over age 4 are required to mask up in any indoor public space and in “crowded outdoor spaces,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office announced July 10. Her order also requires businesses to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions.

Learn more: Read Michigan's 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: Yes

On Aug. 4, Gov. Tate Reeves issued an order for all Mississippians to wear masks at public gatherings and in retail businesses. Much of the population was already covered by mask mandates that had been applied in 37 of state's 82 counties, including its most populous areas, due to high local rates of COVID-19. The statewide order is in effect until at least the end of September.

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: Yes

Gov. Steve Bullock's July 15 executive order requires masking up in indoor public spaces and at any “organized outdoor activity” where social distancing cannot be maintained, including markets, weddings and parties. The mandate does not apply to children under age 5 or in counties where there are fewer than four confirmed, active cases of COVID-19.

Learn more: Read Montana's mask order.

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. The cities of Lincoln and Omaha have enacted broader local orders that require face-covering in most indoor public places.

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: No

Face-covering is required at "scheduled gatherings of 100 or more people," unless attendees are seated and spaced 6 feet apart. The order does not apply to children under age 2 or in K-12 schools. Masks are also required for patrons at personal-care businesses and fitness centers (when not actively working out) and recommended in other public settings. Nashua, Concord and several other cities enforce local mask mandates.

Learn more: Read the New Hampshire public health agency's mask recommendations and Gov. Chris Sununu's mask order for large gatherings..

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 added a broad public mask mandate to the state's emergency plan in a June 24 executive order, expanding a prior order that had limited the requirement to staff at personal-care, grooming and tattoo businesses. The rule applies to people over age 2 when in public places.

Learn more: Read North Carolina's mask order.

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North Dakota

Statewide order: No

The state encourages employers to recommend staff and customers wear face coverings where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, but there is no statewide requirement.

Learn more: Read public health protocols for individuals and businesses in the state's ND Smart Restart plan.

Ohio

Statewide order: Yes

The state mandate took effect July 23, replacing an alert system in which mask orders were imposed on individual counties deemed to be at high risk for coronavirus spread. Gov. Mike DeWine’s directive applies to people age 10 and older when in public indoor spaces and outdoors when unable to maintain 6-foot social distancing.

Learn more: Read a statement from the governor’s office announcing the mask order.

Oklahoma

Statewide order: No

Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has tested positive for COVID-19, has called on Oklahomans to wear masks in public but rejected calls for a state mandate. A few cities, including Tulsa, have adopted mask requirements.

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

Oregon

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Kate Brown implemented a state mask rule on July 1, covering indoor public spaces. Two weeks later she expanded the mandate to include public outdoor areas, when at least 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained between others outside of an individual's household. Children under 5 are exempt, but the state recommends face coverings for children as young as 2. Indoor gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

Learn more: Read the Oregon Health Authority face covering guidance.

Pennsylvania

Statewide order: Yes

Pennsylvania's mask mandate took effect July 1 on orders from state Health Secretary Rachel Levine. It requires most people age 2 and up to cover their faces in public places, indoors and out. It expanded a prior order that made masks mandatory for employees and, where relevant, customers at essential businesses.

Learn more: Read Pennsylvania's mask order.

Puerto Rico

Territory-wide order: Yes

Gov. Wanda Vázquez issued a directive on May 26 that requires face-covering “at all times” in public places. She has extended the order several times since, most recently on Aug. 19.

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. Some jurisdictions have enacted mask mandates, including Nashville and Memphis and their surrounding counties.

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 20 or fewer active COVID-19 cases can apply to the state for exemption. As of mid-September, about a fifth of the state's 254 counties had exemptions due to low case counts.

Learn more: Read Texas’ mask order.

Utah

Statewide order: No

State officials have encouraged face covering and established a program to provide a mask for every Utahn who needs one. In recent weeks, Gov. Gary Herbert has mandated masks in state government facilities and in K-12 schools that open this fall, and he signed on to mask orders for Salt Lake and Summit counties.

Learn more: Read Utah's guidelines for protecting yourself from COVID-19.

Vermont

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Phil Scott’s mask directive took effect Aug. 1 and will be in force through at least Oct. 15. It applies to Vermonters age 2 and up whenever they are in pubic settings, indoors or outdoors, “wherever close contact is unavoidable.”

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

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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

Statewide order: Yes

An executive order issued by Gov. Ralph Northam on May 26 mandates masks for people age 10 and up in “indoor settings to which the public has access.” There are exceptions for day-care centers and schools. Employees of essential businesses must wear masks in “customer-facing areas."

Learn more: Read Virginia's 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's July 6 order requires people age 9 and up to wear face coverings in confined indoor spaces when unable to adequately social distance, other than at home and when “actively engaged in the consumption of food and/or beverage.”

Learn more: Read West Virginia's mask order.

Wisconsin

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Tony Evers's emergency order mandating face-covering statewide took effect Aug. 1. The rule applies to people ages 5 and up in all indoor public settings and in “enclosed spaces” such as park structures and outdoor restaurants. Masks are “strongly recommended” but not generally required outside. The order will be in force through at least Sept. 28.

Learn more: Read Wisconsin’s mask order.

Wyoming

Statewide order: No

Patrons at salons and other personal-care businesses are required to wear masks “as much as possible” while being served. Employees of personal-care firms, gyms, entertainment venues, and restaurants and bars must wear masks if they “come within 6 feet of customers or other staff.” Face coverings are recommended for the general public, and local governments are authorized to enact their own restrictions.

Learn more: Read the Wyoming Department of Health's mask recommendations.

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