En español | For more than a year, governors across the country have issued orders and recommendations to their residents on the status of schools, businesses and public services in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As of July 1, most states had lifted the COVID-19 safety measures they had put in place. Now, as the delta and omicron variants spread, cities and communities are reinstating mask mandates.
On Aug. 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. On Sept. 9, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that requires all federal executive branch employees to get the vaccine. Biden also directed the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require employers with more than 100 employees to mandate employees get the vaccine or submit to regular testing. On Nov. 4, OSHA issued the Emergency Temporary Standard requiring covered employers to mandate that employees be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or submit to regular testing, but the mandate has been suspended pending legal challenges. Some states have already adopted mandates that apply to state employees and health care workers.
When a state is listed as fully reopened, it means that businesses no longer have to follow capacity limits or curfews. Most public and private gatherings of any size are allowed (large indoor event venues may still be subject to restrictions). Domestic travelers are free to visit the state without quarantining or providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Minimal restrictions may still apply in certain settings. For example, masks or social distancing may still be required in nursing homes.
Many states have adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on masks. The CDC updated its mask guidance July 27 to say that fully vaccinated individuals should wear a mask in public indoor spaces in areas of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission. Unvaccinated individuals should consider wearing a mask in all indoor public settings, regardless of transmission level in the area. Local governmental entities or private businesses may still have restrictions.
Here’s a look at each state’s restrictions:
• Alabama: Fully reopened. On Oct. 25, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) issued an executive order that prohibits any state executive branch agency from penalizing a business or individual not complying with President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate. She says the state plans to challenge the federal mandate in court. Last May, Ivey signed a bill into law that prohibits local governmental entities, schools and businesses from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition for admission or to receive goods or services.
• Alaska: Fully reopened. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) issued a memo requiring employees, contractors and visitors to wear a mask in indoor state facilities, unless social distancing can be maintained. In April, Dunleavy issued an order banning all executive branch departments from requiring any person to provide proof of vaccination (vaccine passports).
In the city and borough of Juneau, individuals over age 2 must wear a mask in indoor public settings.
• Arizona: Fully reopened. On Sept. 27, a Maricopa County superior court judge struck down a law that prohibited mask mandates in schools and limited local governments from enforcing similar COVID-19 policies. On Aug. 16, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed an order prohibiting local governments from issuing vaccine mandates. The order also requires local governments to provide earned sick leave to employees if they are exposed to COVID-19.
The Phoenix City Council requires individuals to wear a mask and practice social distancing inside city facilities, regardless of vaccination status.
• Arkansas: Fully reopened. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Sept. 28 announced that he would not renew the state’s public health emergency related to COVID-19, which had just expired. Previously, he signed a bill that bans state and local mask mandates and another that prohibits state and local agencies from requiring proof of vaccination to travel, to participate in education or to receive services (vaccine passports).
• California: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ended the stay-at-home order on June 15. The state health department has ordered all individuals 2 and older to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and businesses from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, regardless of vaccination status. Newsom announced that effective Sept. 20, vaccination verification or a negative COVID-19 test is required for indoor events with more than 1,000 people. The same is strongly recommended, but not required, for outdoor events with more than 10,000 people. On Aug. 5, the health department issued an order that requires state employees and health care workers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or submit to regular testing (once a week). The order also applies to employees who work in high-risk congregate settings, such as jails and senior residential facilities. On Aug. 11, the health department issued an order that requires school staff to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.
The Los Angeles City Council on Oct. 6 voted to require proof of vaccination for people entering restaurants, gyms and other indoor settings starting Nov. 4. San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that certain indoor businesses, such as restaurants and gyms, must obtain proof of full vaccination from customers and employees before allowing them to enter. Vaccination verification is also required for indoor events if crowds are larger than 1,000. The order took effect Aug. 20.
• Colorado: Fully reopened. Individuals 12 and older who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask indoors in certain settings, such as health care facilities and prisons. Everyone 2 and older must wear a mask when using public transportation, regardless of vaccination status. On Aug. 30, the health board voted to pass a vaccine mandate for health care workers. Workers were required to be vaccinated by Oct. 31. Individuals could seek a medical or religious exemption. Beginning Sept. 20, all state government employees had to be either fully vaccinated or receive COVID-19 tests twice per week.
On Nov. 23, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced that businesses must either implement a mask mandate for indoor public spaces or require proof of vaccination. Some nearby counties are under similar mandates.
• Connecticut: Gov. Ned Lamont (D) lifted most business restrictions on May 19. He extended, through Feb. 15, an order that requires unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask in indoor public spaces. New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker has mandated that individuals wear a mask in indoor public areas, regardless of their vaccination status. Also in New Haven, masks are required in private indoor businesses and places of employment where social distancing cannot be maintained. On Sept. 10, Lamont signed an order that mandates COVID-19 vaccines for state employees. Workers were required to be vaccinated by Sept. 27. Certain employees may be eligible to forgo the vaccine and opt for weekly testing. In some circumstances, individuals with a medical condition or sincerely held religious beliefs may be exempt. A similar mandate applies to long-term care employees. On Jan. 6, Lamont signed an order that requires state hospital employees and employees of long-term care facilities to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.
• Delaware: Fully reopened. Gov. John Carney (D) had announced that employees of the state, long-term care homes and health care facilities must show proof of vaccination by Sept. 30 or submit to weekly testing. Employees and volunteers in K-12 schools had to show proof of vaccination by Nov. 1 or submit to weekly testing. Employees and visitors to state facilities must wear a mask.
• District of Columbia: Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced the launch of a vaccine passport program. As of Jan. 15, 2022, individuals 12 and up must have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor food establishments, fitness centers, cultural and entertainment facilities (such as movie theaters) and event or meeting establishments. By Feb. 15, individuals 12 and up must be fully vaccinated to enter. An exception applies to individuals only briefly entering, such as to pick up a food order. After lifting an indoor mask mandate in November, Bowser reinstated it. The mandate is effective at 6 a.m. on Dec. 21 until 6 a.m. on Jan. 31. Bowser also announced that all D.C. government employees, contractors, interns and grantees must be fully vaccinated and get a booster shot. On Aug. 16 she said that health care workers had to receive one dose of the vaccine by Sept. 30 and a second dose within the recommended time frame. Previously, she said that employees and volunteers in K-12 schools had to be vaccinated by Nov. 1. Students 12 and older had to be vaccinated by Nov. 1 to participate in extracurricular sports activities. Individuals may be exempted from the vaccine mandates because of religious beliefs or medical conditions.
• Florida: Fully reopened. On Sept. 22, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo dropped a requirement stating that before public school students can return to campus, they must quarantine for at least four days after being exposed to COVID-19. On July 30, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed an order protecting the right of parents to choose whether their children wear a mask in schools. In May, the governor signed a bill that prohibits vaccine passports.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced individuals must wear a mask in county facilities, regardless of vaccination status.
• Georgia: Fully reopened. On Aug. 19, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed an order that prohibits local governments from mandating COVID-19 restrictions for private businesses, such as vaccination and mask requirements. Businesses may — but aren’t required to — follow local ordinances. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) lifted an indoor mask mandate in November but reinstated it Dec. 21. The mandate orders individuals 10 and up to wear a mask in indoor public spaces. Previously, Savannah Mayor Van R. Johnson II (D) signed an order requiring everyone over age 10 to wear a mask when inside Savannah government buildings, hospitals and early childhood centers, among other places.
• Hawaii: An order Gov. David Ige (D) signed in November that reinstated gathering and capacity restrictions expired. Ige announced that each county can implement its own rules. In Hawaii County, for example, indoor social gatherings of more than 25 people and outdoor social gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited. Previously, Ige dropped the quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated U.S. travelers. Visitors arriving in Hawaii from out of state who have been fully vaccinated for two weeks can bypass the requirements. Otherwise, visitors must either show a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours of traveling or self-quarantine for 10 days.
A statewide mandate requires individuals 5 and older to wear a face mask in indoor public settings. Masks are not required outdoors. In August, Ige signed an order that mandates state employees to show proof of vaccination or undergo regular testing. In September, he signed an order extending that mandate to state contractors and visitors to state facilities.
• Idaho: Fully reopened. Individuals age 2 and up must wear a mask in Boise when inside city buildings, including city hall and public libraries. In April, Gov. Brad Little (R) signed an order banning all state entities from requiring people to show a vaccine passport to receive services or to enter buildings.
• Illinois: On Oct. 22, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that employees who work in licensed day care centers must get the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing. Previously, Pritzker ordered health care workers to be fully vaccinated or submit to regular testing. State employees at congregate facilities (Health Department, Veterans Affairs, prisons, etc.) are also required to be fully vaccinated unless they qualify for an exemption, such as a medical condition or religious belief. As of Aug. 30, individuals 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask in indoor public places, such as restaurants, gyms and grocery stores.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a vaccine passport program. As of Jan. 3, 2022, individuals 5 and older must show proof they are fully vaccinated to enter restaurants, fitness centers and entertainment venues where food or drinks are served. The requirement doesn’t apply to those entering the business or venue for less than 10 minutes. Individuals with a medical or religious exemption must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the prior 72 hours.
• Indiana: Fully reopened. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed a bill banning state or local governments from requiring vaccine passports.
• Iowa: Fully reopened. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed legislation that prohibits schools and local governments from issuing a mask mandate. On Sept. 13 a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order that stops the Reynolds administration from enforcing the ban in schools. It has appealed the decision. Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague issued an order that requires individuals to wear a mask when inside public spaces, such as grocery stores, and when outside if it’s not possible to stay 6 feet away from others.
• Kansas: Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced that employees and visitors must wear masks in indoor state buildings unless social distancing can be maintained. In 2020, Kelly said that counties should devise their own plans to reopen businesses. A statewide plan to restart the economy in phases offers guidance, but counties aren’t required to follow it. The state Department of Health and Environment updated a travel mandate. Unvaccinated individuals who have attended an out-of-state or in-state mass gathering of 500 people or more and who didn’t wear a mask and stay socially distanced must quarantine. The length of quarantine varies depending on whether the individual has been tested. The mandate also applies to anyone who traveled on a cruise ship on or after March 15, 2020, as well as anyone who recently traveled to certain countries. Fully vaccinated people who have been asymptomatic since they traveled are not required to quarantine. The health department recommends, but doesn’t require, that individuals over age 2 wear a mask in public.
• Kentucky: Fully reopened. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) encouraged workers in state health care facilities to get vaccinated by Oct. 1. Starting then, unvaccinated workers will be tested.
• Louisiana: Fully reopened. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) lifted a mask mandate in most settings. Masks are still required in K-12 schools, but a school can opt out if it adopts certain protocols. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced individuals 12 and up must provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for entry into indoor activities, such as dining, gyms and entertainment centers, as well as at outdoor events with more than 500 people.
• Maine: Fully reopened. Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced health workers must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 29. The City Council of Portland voted to implement a mask mandate. As of Jan. 5, individuals 2 and older must wear a mask in indoor public spaces. Businesses that require proof of vaccination to be on site don’t need to require masks.
• Maryland: Fully reopened. On Jan. 3, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced a mask mandate for employees and visitors at state buildings. A mask mandate remains in effect in Montgomery County because of high transmission rates of COVID-19. Residents over age 2 must wear a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. In Prince George’s County, individuals over age 2 must wear a mask in indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status. In Baltimore, individuals over age 5 must wear a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. The health department ordered state employees who work in congregate settings to be vaccinated by Sept. 1 or submit to regular testing. A similar mandate applies to nursing home and hospital employees.
• Massachusetts: Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced long-term care providers and home care workers are among those who must be vaccinated by Oct. 31. Exemptions are available for those with certain medical conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs. Baker issued a similar order for executive branch employees.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced a vaccine passport program that applies to indoor bars, restaurants, fitness centers and entertainment venues. As of Jan. 15, patrons will be required to show they have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter. As of Feb. 15, patrons must be fully vaccinated. Wu also announced that city workers will be required to get vaccinated by the same deadlines. She eliminated a testing opt-out. She has kept in place an indoor mask mandate in public settings within the city of Boston. It applies to individuals older than 2, regardless of vaccination status.
• Michigan: Fully reopened.
• Minnesota: Fully reopened. Gov. Tim Walz announced state agency employees must get vaccinated or submit to regular testing. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter issued a mask mandate for all employees and visitors (regardless of vaccination status) to city-owned buildings.
• Mississippi: Fully reopened.
• Missouri: Fully reopened. On Oct. 28, Gov. Mike Parson (R) issued an executive order that prohibits state executive branch agencies from compelling an individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or penalize a business for noncompliance with the federal vaccine mandate. On Sept. 29, a circuit court judge blocked Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s effort to use a class-action lawsuit to ban school mask mandates across the state.
Effective July 26, the St. Louis city and county health departments require individuals age 5 and up to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and while using public transportation.
• Montana: Fully reopened. In April, Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed an executive order prohibiting vaccine passports in Montana.
• Nebraska: Fully reopened. On Oct. 28, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed an executive order that prohibits state executive branch agencies from enforcing the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
• Nevada: Fully reopened. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) issued a directive mandating that individuals follow CDC mask guidance. Individuals in counties with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission must wear a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Sisolak announced that effective Aug. 15, all state employees who aren’t fully vaccinated must submit to weekly testing. If a government workplace reaches 70 percent vaccination rate among employees, it can drop the testing protocol. On Aug. 16, Sisolak announced he’d signed a directive that allows large indoor event venues (seating capacity of 4,000 or more) to opt out of the mask requirement if all attendees are vaccinated.
• New Hampshire: Fully reopened.
• New Jersey: Fully reopened. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an order that requires employees at health care facilities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested regularly. He signed a similar order for state executive branch contractors.
• New Mexico: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the health department had issued a public health order that reimplements a mask mandate. Individuals 2 and older must wear a mask in indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status. The order took effect Aug. 20 and is still in effect. The health department also issued an order that mandates vaccines in high-risk settings, such as hospitals and congregate care facilities. Those with a qualifying medical exemption, disability or sincerely held religious belief can receive an exemption. Exempt individuals must wear a mask and submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. School workers who are not fully vaccinated also must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test weekly and wear a mask. On Dec. 2, the health department added a booster shot requirement to the vaccine mandates.
• New York: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced that effective Dec. 13, individuals 2 and older must wear a mask in indoor public spaces unless the business or venue requires proof of vaccination for people age 12 and older. The mandate lasts until Jan. 15. Previously, she announced mask requirements for state-regulated childcare, mental health and addiction facilities. Individuals 2 and older must wear a mask in those places regardless of vaccination status. On July 28, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that state employees must show proof of vaccination or submit to regular testing. Cuomo also required patient-facing state health care employees to be vaccinated, without a test-out option; Hochul extended that requirement to employees at mental health facilities. On Aug. 4, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced that individuals won’t be allowed to enter indoor restaurants, gyms or entertainment facilities without proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Enforcement began Sept. 13.
• North Carolina: Fully reopened. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced that cabinet-agency workers who aren’t vaccinated must wear a mask and submit to weekly testing. A mask mandate is in effect for the city of Raleigh. Individuals older than age 2 must wear a face covering when in contact with nonhousehold members in indoor public and private spaces. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles announced a mask mandate for Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, effective Aug. 18. Buncombe County has an indoor mask mandate in place through Feb. 16.
• North Dakota: Fully reopened.
• Ohio: Fully reopened. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced he is reissuing a mask order. Regardless of vaccination status, individuals must wear a mask in indoor places accessible to the public.
• Oklahoma: Fully reopened. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed an order that prohibits state agencies from requiring a visitor to show proof of vaccination to enter public buildings. The order exempts agencies that conduct medical activities requiring patient interaction.
• Oregon: Under the direction of Gov. Kate Brown (D), the Oregon Health Authority lifted a mask mandate for outdoor spaces. Masks continue to be required indoors in public spaces for individuals 5 and up, regardless of vaccination status. Masks aren’t required when playing sports or when eating or drinking, among other exemptions. Brown signed an executive order requiring employees of executive branch agencies to be vaccinated by Oct. 18 or six weeks after full Food and Drug Administration approval. Health care workers and school educators and staff must follow a similar mandate.
• Pennsylvania: Fully reopened. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that state health care employees and workers in high-risk congregate care facilities must be vaccinated by Sept. 7 or undergo regular testing. Those hired after that date must be fully vaccinated. As of Aug. 12, the Philadelphia Board of Health requires individuals to wear a mask inside businesses and institutions. Businesses and institutions that require employees and patrons to be vaccinated are exempt from the mask mandate, but certain essential businesses, including grocery stores and doctor’s offices, don’t qualify for the exemption.
• Rhode Island: Gov. Dan McKee (D) announced new, temporary COVID-19 restrictions due to a surge in cases. Restaurants, retail stores and other indoor venues with a capacity of 250 people or more must require employees and patrons to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status. Indoor venues with a capacity of 250 people or fewer must require individuals to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination. Office-based businesses must also require masks or proof of vaccination. Previously, the health department ordered all health care workers to be vaccinated by Oct. 1 unless they are medically exempt.
• South Carolina: Fully reopened. Under an emergency ordinance, individuals in Richland County who are 11 years and older must wear a mask in indoor public spaces. The ordinance is in effect until March 5.
• South Dakota: Fully reopened. On, Oct. 27, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed an executive order that ensures individuals who work for a state executive branch agency can get a medical or religious exemption to the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Medical exemptions require a written statement from a physician. Religious exemptions require an individual to sign a form from the Bureau of Human Resources.
• Tennessee: Fully reopened. Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed an order in April prohibiting local authorities in the 89 counties directed by the health department from issuing a mask mandate. Lee requested the remaining six counties with independent health departments not to impose a mask mandate.
• Texas: Fully reopened. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed an order prohibiting state and local government entities from issuing vaccine mandates. Abbott made an exception for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities.
• Utah: Fully reopened. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed a law blocking employers and colleges and universities from vaccine requirements. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall ordered individuals ages 3 and up (including employees and visitors) to wear a mask when inside city facilities. City employees acting within the scope of their employment must also wear a mask when outside a city facility. The order took effect July 28 and remains in place until rescinded.
• Vermont: Fully reopened. Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that as of Sept. 15, executive branch state employees are required to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.
• Virginia: Fully reopened. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued an order that requires all state workers to get vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. The mandate started Sept. 1.
• Washington: Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued an order that mandates vaccines for state employees, including teachers, health care providers and contractors. The order went into effect Oct. 18 and allows an exemption for those with a disability or sincerely held religious beliefs. The health department amended an order on mask mandates. Regardless of vaccination status, individuals 5 and older must wear a mask in indoor public spaces or at large outdoor events with 500 people or more. Exemptions include while training or competing in a sport or at private indoor or outdoor gatherings with fewer than 500 people when social distancing is possible.
• West Virginia: Fully reopened.
• Wisconsin: Fully reopened. Dane County’s health officer has issued a mask mandate, effective Aug. 19. Individuals ages 2 and up must wear a mask in indoor public spaces when with people outside their household. Masks are also required when using public transportation. The order lasts until Sept. 16.
• Wyoming: Fully reopened.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect new information.