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State-by-State Guide to Face Mask Requirements

37 states now mandate face coverings in public as New Hampshire, Iowa, North Dakota issue orders

Man walking outside in rainy fall weather. He is wearing a face mask and carrying an umbrella

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New Hampsire Gov. Chris Sununu announced a statewide mask mandate on Nov. 19, bringing to 37 the number of state governments that 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.

To date, one state that had a full mask mandate has lifted it: Mississippi, which did so on Sept. 30. Gov. Tate Reeves has since instituted a partial mask order covering counties with high rates of COVID-19 transmission.

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 Dec. 2.


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Alabama 

Statewide order: Yes

The state’s mask order took effect July 16 and will now run through at least Dec. 11 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. The updated order also mandates masks for students in second grade and up.

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, 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 Dec. 9. 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 and the latest extension.

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, 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 requiring 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 took effect July 27 and has been extended through at least Dec. 12. 

Learn more: Read Indiana’s updated mask order.

Iowa 

Statewide order: Yes

Days after instituting Iowa's first, partial mask rule, which applied to large gatherings, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a full face-covering mandate effective Nov. 17. The governor's proclamation requires Iowans age 2 and up to wear masks when they are in indoor public spaces and within 6 feet of people from other households for 15 minutes or more. The order is in force through at least Dec. 10.

Learn more: Read Iowa's mask order.

Kansas 

Statewide order: Yes, but widely unenforced

Under an executive order issued by Gov. Laura Kelly in July and reissued in 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 mandate. More than 60 of Kansas' 105 counties have adopted the mask rule, up from 25 before Kelly announced the second order on Nov. 18. 

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 has been extended through at least Dec. 4. 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 "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 

Statewide order: Yes

Public face-covering is required through at least Dec. 4, per a proclamation issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards on July 11 and extended several times. 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 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 54 counties and is in effect until at least Dec. 11. 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 latest 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 Montanans age 5 and up to wear masks in indoor public spaces and at any “organized outdoor activity” where social distancing cannot be maintained. The initial mandate excepted counties where there are fewer than four confirmed, active cases of COVID-19, but Bullock issued a new order on Nov. 17 that expands the mask rule to all counties, regardless of local case counts.

Learn more: Read Montana's updated 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. 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 is in force through Jan. 15.

Learn more: Read New Hampshire's mask order.

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 mandate, in effect since June, in a Nov. 23 executive order. People over age 5 are now 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. The updated order also requires masking in K-12 schools and when exercising. It is in force until at least Dec. 11.

Learn more: Read North Carolina's updated mask order.

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North Dakota

Statewide order: Yes

Amid a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases that the state Department of Health said is causing "critical shortages" in North Dakota's health care system, Gov. Doug Burgum instituted a statewide mask requirement on Nov. 14. The order mandates face-covering for anyone over age 4 in indoor businesses and public places and outdoors where physical distancing cannot be mantained. It is in effect through at least Dec. 13.  

Learn more: Read North Dakota's mask order.

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 recovered from a bout of COVID-19 in July, 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. It has since been expanded to cover all workplaces, including offices, and outdoor businesses and public spaces when physical distancing is not possible. 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's mask requirements.

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

Gov. Wanda Vázquez issued a directive on May 26 that requires face-covering “at all times” in public places and has extended it several times since. The current order is in effect through at least Dec. 11.

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. Several jurisdictions 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 20 or fewer active COVID-19 cases can apply to the state for exemption. As of early December, 27 of the state’s 254 counties had exemptions due to low case counts.

Learn more: Read Texas’ mask order.

Utah

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Gary Herbert announced a statewide mask requirement as part of a new emergency declaration that took effect Nov. 9, replacing a system of state-imposed, county-level mask mandates based on local COVID-19 transmission rates. It requires people over the age of 2 to wear a face covering in public and whenever they are within 6 feet of someone from a separate household. It is in effect through at least Dec. 8.

Learn more: Read Utah's mask order.

Vermont

Statewide order: Yes

Gov. Phil Scott’s mask directive took effect Aug. 1 and has been extended several ties since. The latest order will be in force through at least Dec. 15. 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 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 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' emergency order mandating face-covering took effect Aug. 1 and, following multiple extensions, will be in force through at least Jan. 19, pending a court challenge. It applies to people ages 5 and up in all indoor public settings, and in “enclosed spaces” such as park structures and outdoor restaurant seating, when someone from another household is present. 

Learn more: Read Wisconsin’s latest 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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