Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, governors and health departments across the country issued orders and recommendations on the status of schools, businesses and public services.
With the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020, the closures, capacity limits and large-scale mask orders that marked earlier phases of the pandemic gave way to vaccine and testing mandates and more targeted face-covering rules, which many states extended or reinstated as the delta and omicron variants spread in 2021 and 2022. As those waves receded, pandemic restrictions largely subsided as well.
Some states and local governments maintained vaccination or masking orders for public employees and health care workers into 2023, but almost all such mandates had lapsed by May 11, when the federal government’s COVID-19 public health emergency ended. Several states have barred or limited mask and vaccine orders and other requirements through legislation or executive action.
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At the national level, President Joe Biden's executive order requiring health care workers and federal executive branch employees to be vaccinated expired May 11. Another federal order that mandated masks on public modes of transportation, including commercial flights, and in transit hubs such as airports and bus and train stations, also ended May 11, but it had not been enforced for more than a year due to a court order.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a final rule June 5 that formally ends vaccine or testing requirements for staff at long-term care facilities that participate in Medicare or Medicaid, effective Aug. 4.
There are no longer any states with general mask orders. A small number of state and local governments still require face-covering in certain high-risk settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes and shelters. Some states direct health care facilities to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on mask use in medical settings. In most states, private businesses and venues may require masking or proof of vaccination as a condition for entry.
Here’s a look at each state’s vaccine, testing and mask requirements.
Vaccine and testing regulations: State law bars local governments, schools and businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for admission or to receive goods or services and grants workers broad rights to get religious or medical exemptions to workplace vaccine mandates.
Gov. Kay Ivey (R) issued an order prohibiting any state executive branch agency from penalizing a business or individual for not complying with President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate.
More information: Check the state public health department’s COVID-19 page.
Vaccine and testing regulations: Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) issued an order in April 2021 banning all executive branch departments from requiring anyone to provide proof of vaccination to travel to or around the state.
More information: Check the state’s COVID-19 page.
Vaccine and testing regulations: Laws signed by then-Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in April and May 2022 prohibit state and local government entities from requiring Arizonans to get a COVID-19 vaccine (government-owned or -operated health care institutions are exempt) and bar state officials from requiring COVID-19 vaccines at schools.
Mask regulations: Ducey signed a measure in April 2022 banning face-covering orders for minors. School districts and local governments cannot require anyone under age 18 to wear a mask without parental consent. He signed legislation the following month prohibiting mask mandates in buildings run by state or local government.
More information: Check the state health department’s COVID-19 page.
Vaccine and testing regulations: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed legislation Sept. 14 barring state and local government bodies from requiring vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition for employment, entry or provision of services. The measure took effect immediately.
Mask regulations: Then-Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed a bill that bans state and local mask mandates, but it was overturned by a state judge in December 2021.
More information: Check the Arkansas Department of Health's COVID-19 page.
Vaccine and testing regulations: A statewide vaccine mandate for health care workersnded April 3. A requirement that state employees be vaccinated or undergo regular testing was lifted in September 2022. Los Angeles County rescinded its vaccination requirement for health care staff Aug. 4. San Luis Obispo County requires health care workers to get flu shots and be up to date on COVID-19 vaccines during respiratory illness season, defined as Nov. 1 to April 30.
Mask regulations: A statewide mask requirement covering health care and long-term care facilities, emergency and homeless shelters, and jails and prisons ended April 3. Marin and Santa Clara counties require employees and visitors to mask up in health care facilities, including nursing homes. San Francisco has a similar order covering staff only. Mask mandates for health care workers in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties take effect Nov. 1.
More information: Read California’s current safety measures.
Vaccine and testing regulations: The state Board of Public Health ended a vaccine requirement for health care workers in July. A similar mandate for state employees was repealed the following month.
Mask regulations: The state dropped its mask mandate for health care facilities in October. A mask requirement for workers at federally regulated long-term care facilities in areas of high COVID-19 transmission lapsed with the end of the public health emergency. Health care workers are now directed to follow CDC guidance on face-covering.
More Information: Check the state’s department of health COVID-19 page.
Vaccine and testing regulations: A vaccine mandate for state employees and staff at schools and childcare facilities ended in April 2022 as most of Gov. Ned Lamont's COVID-related executive orders expired. The state's latest COVID-19 guidance refers people to the CDC's COVID website.
Mask regulations: A face-covering requirement for health care facilities, long-term care facilities and shelters ended in April 2022.
More information: See Connecticut’s COVID-19 response page.
Vaccine and testing regulations: Following the end of the federal and state public health emergencies May 11, there are no longer vaccination or testing requirements for state employees, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health. Health care and long-term care facilities are encouraged to follow current CDC guidelines for infection control.
Mask regulations: A mask mandate for K-12 schools and childcare facilities ended March 31, 2022. With the end of the public health emergency, medical and long-term care facilities are no longer under a state mask order and are encouraged to follow the CDC guidance on masking.
More information: Read Delaware’s COVID-19 guidance.
Vaccine and testing regulations: District government employees, contractors and interns must be fully vaccinated and get a booster shot when eligible. Health care workers and employees and volunteers in K-12 schools also must meet vaccination requirements. Individuals may be exempted from the vaccine mandates because of religious beliefs or medical conditions.
Mask regulations: Face-covering is required in health care facilities when the COVID-19 community level is rated high by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More information: Read the District’s COVID-19 guidances and resources.
Vaccine and testing regulations: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation May 11 to permanently bar businesses, government bodies and educational institutions from requiring COVID-19 vaccination or testing as a condition of employment, entry or provision of services. The new law takes effect June 1, when an existing law temporarily prohibiting "vaccine passports" expires.
Mask regulations: The same measure bars private and public-sector entities from imposing mask mandates.
More information: Read about Florida’s COVID-19 response.
Vaccine and testing requirements: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed an order in August 2021 that prohibits local governments from mandating COVID-19 restrictions such as vaccination requirements for private businesses. A state law in effect through at least June 30, 2023, bars government entities from requiring vaccination as a condition for employment or receiving public services.
Mask requirements: Kemp's August 2021 order also allows bars local governments from enforcing mask mandates on private businesses without the business's consent. He signed legislation in March 2022 that allows parents to decide whether their children wear a mask in school, even if the local district implements a mandate.
An indoor mask mandate enforced in Athens and Clarke County during periods of high COVID-19 transmission expired in full Oct. 6.
More information: Check the state department of health’s COVID-19 page.
Vaccine and testing regulations: Democratic Gov. David Ige’s order that state employees show proof of vaccination or undergo regular testing was lifted March 25, 2022, as were all vaccine, testing and quarantine requirements for travel to Hawaii.
Mask regulations: Hawaii’s statewide mask mandate, the last in the country, expired March 25, 2022.
More information: Check the state’s COVID-19 page for updates.
Vaccine and testing regulations: Gov. Brad Little (R) signed legislation April 6 that prohibits most public and private employers from imposing vaccine mandates on employees. The measure, which took effect immediately, also prohibits government entities, businesses and venues from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition for someone to enter a premises or receive services.
More information: Check the state’s COVID-19 page for more information.
Vaccine and testing regulations: A requirement that unvaccinated staff at health care and long-term care facilities get tested weekly for COVID-19 was lifted by Gov. J.P. Pritzker (D) Oct. 17.
Policies for state workers vary by agency and are being reviewed, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) says. As of mid-May, unvaccinated employees at state-run corrections, juvenile and human services facilities are tested weekly. Employees at facilities for veterans are tested weekly if they are vaccinated, twice weekly if unvaccinated.
Mask regulations: Face-covering is no longer required in health care and long-term care facilities, per Pritzker's Oct. 17 order. Masks are recommended at facilities in areas of high community spread.
More information: Check the state health department’s COVID-19 page.