Do you know the face mask rules in your state?
Following months of stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns due to the novel coronavirus, various regions in the United States on May 1 began the first phase of reopening. By May 20, each state that had these stay-at-home orders had begun to lift restrictions. Most areas of the country were in Phase 2 of those reopenings by late June, with some even inching their way toward Phase 4.
As Americans reemerge from their homes, the landscape looks a bit different depending on where you live. States and municipalities in most areas have adopted higher standards of cleanliness, maintained rules around social distancing, and required restaurants and bars to reopen at lower capacities. But the most obvious change in our daily lives is the omnipresence of masks—or, in some states, the lack thereof.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends the use of face masks or cloth coverings in public places in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. In fact, a study released June 12 from Texas A&M University found not wearing a face mask dramatically increased the chances of spreading COVID-19. Still, a nationwide decision has not been made; instead, rule-setting has been left up to individual states, counties, or cities.
Stacker scoured various state government reports and reputable news sources to pull together the most up-to-date information about face mask rules in all 50 states. All information is current as of June 23, 2020.
Do you know the rules in your state? Read on to find out whether or not face coverings are just a recommendation or a mandated requirement where you live.
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Face masks in Alabama are required, but only for certain groups of professionals. Face coverings are required for employees of entertainment venues, fitness centers and gyms, personal care services, and restaurants. According to Governor Kay Ivey's "Safer at Home" order, which went into effect April 30, it is only recommended that Alabamians wear face masks in public. In Birmingham, however, it is required.
There is no state-wide mandate for face mask coverings in Arizona. That said, Gov. Doug Ducey granted local governments the authority to make masks mandatory amid spiking case counts throughout Arizona. At the city level, mayors throughout the state are making face masks required in most public spaces.
As of May 11, the Arkansas Department of Health, along with Gov. Asa Hutchinson, made face masks required for restaurants reopening for dine-in. Staff members who come in contact with patrons are required to wear them, while staff in the kitchen and other behind-the-scenes areas are “encouraged.” Masks are also required for reopening gyms and fitness centers, except when actively exercising. Fayetteville and Pine Bluff voted in mid-June to impose mask requirements. Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott on June 17 announced the preparation of an executive order that would require face masks in public places throughout the city.
California has taken one of the strictest approaches in the country to face mask regulations. Gov. Gavin Newsom on June 19 made it a requirement to wear masks in public settings when social distancing isn't possible. It states that residents must wear face coverings when visiting indoor public spaces, including hospitals, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and on public transportation; in lines to enter places; and in any outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in mid-April made it a requirement that employees at grocery stores and other essential businesses wear face masks. The requirement was never expanded to the public. However, major cities, like Denver, Boulder, and Aspen, have ordered all people to wear masks when going into businesses or public spaces. Other towns have similar rules and regulations, though they are slightly nuanced, according to the Denver Post. These towns include Edgewater, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs, Lafayette, Larimer County, Louisville, Northglenn, Routt County, Summit County, and Superior.
Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order effective on April 20 that required residents to wear a face mask in public. It exempts children under the age of 2.
Delaware Gov. John Carney issued an executive order that as of May 1, face masks are required in public settings. He also clarified that the face mask ordinance was not to encourage people to go out in public more often, but if it is necessary to do so, a face mask must be worn.
Florida does not have a statewide requirement regarding face masks. But by June 21, as state COVID-19 cases continued setting new daily records, many local municipalities began implementing their own as lawmakers pressured Gov. Ron DeSantis to implement a statewide requirement for masks. In Miami-Dade County, nearly a dozen mayors by June 22 announced new requirements for mask-wearing in public. Dozens of other Florida towns and areas have followed suit.
As of May 1, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp lifted the shelter-in-place order. Both he and the state health officials have asked residents to use face masks, but there is no statewide requirement for the general public. Certain businesses are required to use face masks in order to reopen, including restaurants. Others, like fitness centers, estheticians, hair designers, and massage therapists must provide PPE as available and appropriate to the function of the business, according to Littler.
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