For businesses, masks are required for all employees, volunteers, and contractors who interact with the public. Employers must provide face coverings and entrances must have signs stating masks are required. The state is also offering grants for businesses and nonprofits to purchase masks and other personal protective equipment.
These states require people to wear face masks when they are in public
Updated November 20, 2020
More than half of U.S. states and Washington, D.C. require people to wear face masks in public as new coronavirus cases begin to surge. The U.S. has more than 11 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.
To slow the spread, the CDC has recommended the use of cloth face coverings. OSHA recommends workers wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent the spread of the virus.
Read below for a list of states that mandate the use of masks …
Residents of Alabama must wear a face covering if they are in public. Governor Kay Ivey’s order requires everyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask when they are within 6 feet of a person from another household while in an indoor space, riding public transit, or an outdoor space where more than 10 people are gathered.
Masks are required for employees and customers of barbers and cosmetologists, and 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.
Is is recommended for other businesses and residents.
People over the age of 9 are required to wear a face covering if they are unable to social distance by 6 feet or more.
Restaurants with dine-in services are required to have customer-facing staff wear a mask. Employees of gyms and patrons working out are also required to wear a mask.
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.
On June 18, the California Department of Health released a memo mandating people in California must wear face coverings when they are in high-risk situations, including:
- Inside, or waiting in line to enter, any indoor public space
- Healthcare facilities
- Waiting in line or riding public transportation or ridesharing
- Where food is prepared
- In common areas (stairs, hallways, elevators, parking facilities)
- Any enclosed our public outdoor areas where you are unable to physically distance
Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide mask order on July 16. “Today, I’m signing an executive order that’s effective at midnight tonight that requires that every Coloradan, age 10 and up, wear a mask or face covering whenever they’re in public,” Polis said.
Gov. Jared Polis’ newest mask mandate 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.
Governor Ned Lamont issued an executive order on April 10, which reads “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 shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering.” The order went into effect April 17 and remains in effect.
Governor John Carney issued a mandate requiring people to wear face masks in public places, including stores, doctors offices, and in public transportation. The order includes children agest 2-12.
District of Columbia
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.
Personal care service providers and employees must wear face masks. Many counties have mandates concerning face masks.
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.
Employees of restaurants, bars, personal care businesses, and entertainment venues must wear masks. It is recommended for the general public. 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.
Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a mandate requiring people to wear face masks indoors and when they are not able to social distance outdoors.
All customers must wear a face covering while waiting to enter or in a business. Employees who come in contact with the public must wear face coverings.
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.”
Everyone over the age of 2 who can medically tolerate a face mask must wear one in public spaces. This includes:
- Shopping at essential businesses, like grocery stores or pharmacies
- Picking up food from the drive thru or curbside
- Visiting a health care provider
- Traveling on public transportation
- Interacting with customers, clients, or coworkers at essential businesses
- Performing essential services for state and local government agencies, such as laboratory testing, where close interactions with other people are unavoidable
- When feeling sick, coughing, or sneezing
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.
Employees of restaurants and personal care businesses must wear a face covering. People over the age of 7 must wear a face mask covering when inside a business or public space. Face coverings must be worn outdoors when social distancing can’t be enforced and when riding public transportation.
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.
Governor Laura Kelley signed an executive order requiring people to wear face masks in public spaces. The order went into effect July 3. Face masks must be worn in stores, shops, restaurants, and in any situation where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order requiring people over the age of 5 to wear face masks while in public. The order went into effect July 10 for a period of 30 days. Businesses must provide PPE to employees.
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.
Employees of restaurants and businesses that come in contact with the public must wear face coverings. People over the age of 7 must wear a face covering when inside a business or space open to the public, including public transportation. 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.
Governor Janet Mills is requiring businesses to enforce face coverings, or risk losing their license. The order applies to businesses in the cities and counties of:
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.
Effective July 31, Maryland residents 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.
Governor Baker issued an executive order requiring face masks in public places where social distancing is not possible, which applies to indoor and outdoor spaces.
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.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order that reiterates people are required to wear face masks when they are in an indoor public space. Face masks are also required in crowded outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible. A violation of the order is subject to a $500 fine.
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.
NEW: 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 22 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.
Previously, based on the Governor’s executive order 1507, the following counties must practice enhanced safety protocols, including the use of a mask or face covering in public and additional limits on social gathering sizes, beginning July 13, 2020.
- Claiborne, De Soto, Grenada , Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Quitman, Rankin, Sunflower, Washington, Wayne
In all businesses:
- All employees are required to keep at least 6 feet from other employees, or wear a face mask.
- All employees must be screened at the beginning of their shift.
In retail businesses:
- Employees in contact with the public must wear a face covering.
- Members of the public must wear a face covering at all times in a retail business.
Gatherings and events:
- Social gatherings are limited to 10 individuals indoors and 20 outdoors, and a distance of at least six feet between individuals must be maintained.
- A distance of six feet or more must be maintained between others at all public events, indoors and out, or else face coverings must be worn.
No mandate, but 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.
Governor Steve Bullock announced a mask mandate on July 15, which applies to counties with more than 4 active COVID-19 cases. The number of active cases can be found on the state’s online dashboard.
Counties with less than 4 actives are still encouraged to follow the mandate, which applies to people ages 5 and up in all indoor spaces. This includes businesses, nonprofits, offices, and public transportation. Masks are required in outdoor spaces with more than 50 people where social distancing is not possible.
Employees of personal care businesses and customers must wear masks. 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.
Governor Steve Sisolak issued a mandatory face mask policy on June 24. Anyone in a public space will need to wear a mask, including on public transportations, in businesses, or interacting with others.
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.
Previously, only employees of retail, restaurants, personal care businesses, and golf courses are required to wear a face covering.
Governor Phil Murphy has pressed for a national requirement for facial coverings, which makes it no surprise that New Jersey has required people to wear face masks in indoor spaces since April. Since then, Murphy has mandated that face masks must be worn while outside and unable to maintain a 6-foot distance from other people.
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.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has mandated that all New Yorkers wear a face mask when social distancing is not possible.
Governor Roy Cooper issued a mandatory mask requirement across North Carolina. Businesses that do not follow the order are subject to citations and other penalties. The mask requirement applies to people over age 5 in public settings, indoor and outdoor, where physical distancing cannot be maintained. It is in force until at least Dec. 4.
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 maintained. It is in effect through at least Dec. 13.
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.Oregon
Governor Kate Brown issued a face mask mandate. People ages 12 and older have to wear a mask when they’re in public indoor spaces, including grocery stores, gyms, and shopping malls.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed a mandate requiring everyone to wear masks when outside the home.
The order includes that masks must be worn when:
- Outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household;
- In any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted;
- Waiting for, riding on, driving, or operating public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle;
- Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank; or
- Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when interacting in-person with any member of the public, working in any space visited by members of the public, working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, working in or walking through common areas, or in any room or enclosed area where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or residence, are present when unable to physically distance
Rhode Island has mandated face coverings since May. People are required to wear face masks when in a public space, both indoors and outdoors.
Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order granting county mayors the authority to issue local face mask requirements.
The following counties have issued requirements in certain situations. Check with your local health officials for details.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a statewide executive order requiring people to wear masks in public, previously allowing counties to opt out if their COVID-19 cases were low. 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 Nov. 19, 29 of the state’s 254 counties had exemptions due to low case counts.
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. While the larger executive order is in effect through Nov. 23, Herbert’s office and the Utah Department of Health said “the mask mandate will be extended for the foreseeable future.”
All businesses must have their employees wear face coverings when in the presence of others. 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.”
Executive Order Sixty-Three, issued on May 26th, requires Virginians to wear face coverings/masks in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Face masks are mandatory in Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam mandated facial coverings beginning May 29. Masks are required for:
- People ages 10 and up
- Inside all retail establishments
- Both essential and non-essential stores, including grocery stores and pharmacies
- Personal care and grooming establishments
- Any indoor space shared by groups of people who may congregate within 6 feet of one another or who are in close proximity to each other for more than 10 minutes
- Inside restaurants and bars, except when eating
- Public transportation
- State and local government buildings and areas where the public accesses services
- Entertainment or public amusement establishments, when permitted to open
The Washington State Department of Health requires people to wear a mask in public when they cannot maintain 6 feet away from each other. Face masks must be worn in indoor public settings, like the grocery stores, pharmacy, hardware stores, and healthcare facilities.
People over the age of 9 must wear a face covering when in presence of other people or traveling. Businesses must require employees and contractors to wear masks. Retail workers must also wear gloves.
Governor Jim Justice announced on July 6 that all people 9 years and older had to wear a face covering at all indoor public places where social distancing cannot be maintained. 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.
Employees and patrons of personal care businesses must wear face masks. 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.”
Check out our list of states that are re-closing after COVID-19