Wearing a mask is one of the simplest things you can do to protect your friends, family and community and help flatten the curve, but keeping up with your home state mask requirements or recommendations is a little less simple. Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on Americans to begin wearing face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 in July of 2020, each state has responded a little differently—read up on where each state stands as of mid-August 2020 before you mask up and spread out.
Alabama has a statewide order for public mask wearing through at least August 31st for all people over age 6, indoors and outdoors.
Though Anchorage has a mask mandate and the state’s Department of Health and Social Services “strongly encourages” public mask wearing, there are no statewide requirements.
Some major cities require masks, but it’s not statewide, except for employees and customers of establishments such as salons.
Since July 2020, Arkansas is under a statewide mask mandate, excluding children under age 10.
Unless you’re under the age of 2, California governor Gavin Newsom has instituted a mandatory mask policy across the state.
Everyone over the age of 10 must wear masks in public in the Mile High State. The mask mandate was set to expire in mid-August, but Governor Polis plans to extend it.
Anyone in Connecticut who is unable or unwilling to maintain a distance of about 6 feet from others is required to wear a mask in public.
Governor John Carney mandated public masks across Delaware via a state-of-emergency decree for anyone over age 12. They’re also recommended for those between 2 and 12.
Ever the outlier, the Sunshine State recommends but does not require masks. However, localities such as Miami-Dade County, Tampa and Palm Beach do require masks.
Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order that actually prohibits city and county governments from implementing mask requirements, though the official state stance is to “encourage” masks in public.
Hawaii encourages public mask wearing and requires the practice for customers and employees across the state.
State guidelines recommend masks for employees and customers and many cities across the state—Boise among them—have mask mandates.
Masks are mandatory in the Land of Lincoln if you’re over the age of 2 and not practicing social distancing.
Until August 26th at the very least, those in Indiana are required to wear masks in public, with special requirements for schools that reopen in 2020.
It is Iowa governor Kim Reynolds’ belief that Iowa localities do not have the right to enact mask requirements, though state health care officials do encourage mask wearing.
There is a statewide mask mandate in Kansas, but conservative lawmakers passed a bill in June that allows counties to opt out of state-level health mandates.
A leading state in COVID response, Kentucky has statewide mask orders for everyone over the age of 5 until at least September 8th, 2020.
A statewide mask mandate for anyone over 8 years old was recently extended to at least August 28th, but interestingly, the Bayou State allows exemptions for religious parishes in areas with less than 100 COVID cases per 100,000 residents.
An early adopter under the leadership of Governor Janet Mills, Maine has had state-level mask requirements since May 1 of 2020 for public settings.
Maryland also mandated statewide mask wearing early, originally requiring it for retail and food service in April of 2020. In late July, the mandate was expanded to all public spaces for those over age 5.
The Bay State has required people over the age of 2 to wear masks in any public space where social distancing isn’t possible since May 6, 2020.
In Michigan, businesses are required to turn away most customers without face masks and masks are required in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces.
With limited exceptions for people working in cubicles or among walls of a certain height, public mask wearing is required across the state for everyone over the age of 5.
Though many of the state’s counties beat him to the punch, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves issued a state-level mask mandate in early August of 2020.
The Show Me State does not require anyone to show off their masks on a state level, though its Department of Health and Senior Services recommends the practice and numerous cities and counties do require mask wearing.
In Big Sky Country, you have to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and at organized outdoor events if you’re over age 5. However, counties with fewer than four confirmed and active cases of COVID-19 are exempt.
On the state level, personal care (salon, etc.) customers and staff must wear masks, but the practice is simply a recommendation otherwise. Major cities do have public mask mandates, though.
Nevada’s known for partying, but that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe; all public spaces in the Silver State require masks for those over age 9.
New Hampshire is lax on mask wearing, only requiring it for scheduled gatherings of over 99 people, with further exemptions for socially distanced gatherings, children and students. However, cities like Durham, Portsmouth and Plymouth have their own requirements.
Anyone in Jersey over the age of 2 has to wear a mask in public spaces, with special focus on construction and agricultural workers.
If you don’t wear a mask in New Mexico’s public spaces—even in the gym—you’re liable to incur a $100 fine.
Anyone over the age of 2 without an exempting medical condition has to wear a mask or social distance in public across the state of New York.
In step with the majority of the country, the Old North State requires public mask wearing for everyone over the age of 2.
Although state health officials encourage mask wearing, North Dakota does not impose any state-level mask requirements.
Replacing their previous county-by-county approach, Ohio issued a statewide public mask mandate for those over age 10 in late July 2020.
Individual cities such as Tulsa have their own mask mandates, but Oklahoma has no statewide mask requirements (despite Governor Kevin Stitt testing positive for coronavirus).
Unless they’re under age 5, Oregonians are under a statewide indoor and outdoor mask mandate for public spaces.
Like most states, the Independence State requires public mask wearing for non-socially-distanced people over the age of 2.
The smallest state in the union also has a mandatory mask policy for anyone older than age 2 in public, unless they’re continuously socially distanced.
Populous places like Columbia and Charleston have mask requirements and the state recommends the practice for businesses, but mask wearing is not required in the Palmetto State.
While mask wearing is recommended, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem has not issued a statewide mask mandate.
Bigger cities like Nashville and Memphis lead the public safety charge with mask requirements, but there is no statewide mask order in place in Tennessee.
With the exception of children under age 10, the Lone Star State does have a statewide mask mandate. However, it offers an exemption option for counties with less than 20 active COVID-19 cases—roughly a quarter of Tennessee counties have opted in to this exemption.
In Utah, masks are encouraged (and even provided for free by the state) but only required in certain counties, K-12 schools and state government facilities.
You guessed it—in any public space where you can’t social distance in Vermont, you must wear a mask if you’re over the age of 2.
Those age 10 and older must wear masks across public spaces and customer-facing areas in Virginia, per executive order.
In addition to indoor and outdoor public mask orders for anyone 5 and older, the Evergreen State orders businesses to require face masks for employees and turn away customers without masks.
Unless actively engaged in eating or drinking, West Virginians over the age of 9 must wear masks when they can’t socially distance in indoor public spaces.
Masks are encouraged outdoors and required for those over age 5 in all indoor public areas until at least September 28th.
Mask mandates are up to local governments in Wyoming, but on a state level, only certain businesses (like salons, gyms and restaurants) are required to wear masks when close to customers.
CDC: CDC Calls on Americans to Wear Masks to Prevent COVID-19 Spread
#Masks4All: What U.S. States Require Masks in Public
AARP: State-by-State Guide to Face Mask Requirements
The Denver Post: Gov. Jared Polis Plans to Extend Colorado’s Mask Mandate
State of Louisiana Office of the Governor: Gov. Edwards Officially Extends Phase Two Order, Statewide Mask Mandate, Bar Closure to Continue to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana
WMUR 9: List: New Hampshire Communities with Rules for Mask Use in Public Spaces
U.S. News and World Report: Record Number of New Virus Cases Led by Stark County Spike