Updated Rundown of State and Territorial COVID-19 Mask Requirements

August 26, 2020|3:53 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

As policies are adopted across the country to require individuals to wear face coverings, ASTHO has updated this blog, initially published last month, to provide the most up to date information about states and jurisdictions that are now including this requirement.

Since the coronavirus is passed from person to person through sneezes, coughs, talking, and even singing and cheering, covering one’s nose and mouth with a mask or other face covering can reduce the amount of virus that is spread to people who are in close contact. With this understanding, the CDC recommends that people wear face coverings and masks when they are in public and unable to properly physically distance themselves from others.

Several states and territories, as well as many local governments, are going beyond recommendations and requiring individuals to wear face coverings when they are in public settings and spaces (i.e. grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, public and private transportation services, parks, etc.). Ongoing research and evidence suggests the relationship between mandatory face coverings and declines in daily COVID-19 growth rates is statistically significant.

As of August 25, nearly 40 states and territories now have jurisdiction-wide orders for wearing face coverings in all or certain public settings or direct businesses to require patrons to wear face coverings (AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, GU, HI, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, PR, RI, TX, USVI, VT, VA, WA, WV, and WI). The orders often extend to outdoor public spaces when adequate physical distancing cannot be maintained. Children are typically exempt from the requirements with the age of exemption ranging from two to twelve. Most orders also exempt anyone who has a medical condition that can be aggravated by wearing a face covering or a mental health condition or disability that prevents a face covering from being worn. Other common exceptions include: exercising; eating or drinking at a restaurant; instances when seeing the mouth is essential for communication, (e.g., when communicating with a person who is hearing impaired); and when receiving a personal service that requires removal of the face covering. A few of the orders spell out the enforcement mechanisms and penalties for the refusal to wear a face coverings (AR, CO, LA, MA, MN, MT, NC, PR, RI, VA, TX, and WI) and some specify that individuals who decline to wear a mask because of a medical condition are not required to show documentation of the condition (CT, DE, MA, NC, and VA).

State and territorial health agencies play a key role when requiring face covering in public during the COVID-19 pandemic. As community spread of the coronavirus grows, more jurisdictions are likely to issue face covering mandates and ASTHO will continue to track the orders. Below is a list of states and territories that require wearing face coverings in public settings and spaces throughout their jurisdictions. Please note, in states without jurisdiction-wide requirements some municipalities may require face coverings (e.g., Dubuque, Iowa and Knox County, Tennessee).

Alabama
Face coverings are required when six feet distance cannot be maintained at an indoor public space, when using transportation services, or at an outdoor public space with 10 or more people.
Exceptions: Children six years or younger or any child not yet in second grade; anyone with a medical condition or disability that prevents the wearing of a face covering; while eating and drinking at a restaurant or when receiving services that require the face covering’s removal; and when confirming one’s identity. Additional exceptions are provided for exercising, communication, constitutionally protected activity, and essential job functions.

Arkansas
Face coverings must be worn by everyone age 10 and older who are in all indoor and outdoor settings where six feet physical distancing cannot be assured.
Exceptions: Those with a medical condition or disability that prevents the wearing of a face covering; safe job performance; certain athletic activities; when consuming food or drink; when receiving services the require the face covering’s removal; voting and other poll activities; when engaged in religious worship activities; when giving a speech or other performance while safely distanced from the audience; and anyone in an county with low risk of community transmission of COVID-19 as determined by the state health department.

California
Everyone must wear face coverings when inside or waiting to enter an indoor public space, when obtaining healthcare services, when waiting for, using, or operating transportation services, and when in an outdoor public space where adequate physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Exceptions: Children under the age of two; someone with a medical or mental condition or disability that prevents a face covering from being worn; and when seeing the mouth is essential for communication.

Colorado
Everyone over the age of 10 must wear a face covering in any public indoor space or when using or waiting for transportation services.
Exceptions: Those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering; when seeing the mouth is essential for communications; when eating or drinking at a restaurant; exercise; receiving personal services; for identification purposes; public safety personnel; the officiating of a life rite or religious service; or when giving a speech. Counties that meet certain metrics are also exempt.

Connecticut
Face coverings are required for anyone in a public space who cannot maintain adequate physical distancing or is using a transportation service.
Exceptions: Children under the age of two and older children when the face covering cannot be safely placed on the child’s face. Individuals who decline to wear a mask because of a medical condition are not required to show documentation of the condition.

Delaware
Everyone—except for children two years old or younger or whose health would be impeded—must wear face coverings in public. This includes: while waiting for and using transportation services; patronizing a business; obtaining healthcare services; when physical distancing at an outdoor public space isn’t feasible; when ill in public and coughing or sneezing; and on beach boardwalks.
Exceptions: Individuals who decline to wear a mask because of a medical condition are not required to show documentation of the condition.

District of Columbia
Face coverings are required in indoor spaces open to the public, when using transportation services, and when in outdoor spaces where six feet physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Exceptions: Children two years old or younger; those unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability; for communication needs and identification purposes; essential work activities; exercise and swimming; and more.

Guam
Face masks are required for allowed activities except for exercising or eating.

Hawaii
All persons must comply with county mask orders, rules, and directives as approved by the governor.

Illinois
Everyone over the age of two and who can medically tolerate a face covering is directed to wear one when at indoor or outdoor public places and unable to maintain an adequate physical distance from others.

Indiana
Everyone over the age of two must wear a face covering when at an indoor or outdoor public space where six feet physical distancing cannot be maintained or when using a transportation service.
Exceptions: Face coverings for children over the age of two and under the age of eight are not required when at school but must be worn on school buses. Also, those who are unable to tolerate a face covering due to a medical condition or disability; when seeing the face is necessary for communication; for workplace safety; during exercise and swimming; those who are incarcerated; those who are experiencing homelessness; during a religious service; and more.

Kansas
Face coverings are required when a person is inside or waiting to enter a public space, when obtaining healthcare services, when waiting for and using transportation services, and when in outdoor public spaces and unable to maintain adequate physical distancing.
Exceptions: Children five and under; anyone with hearing impairments or anyone communicating with such persons; and anyone unable to wear a face covering because of a medical or mental health condition or disability.

Kentucky
Everyone must wear a face covering when they are in an indoor or outdoor public space where six feet physical distancing cannot be assured or when using or waiting for transportation services.
Exceptions: Children age five and younger; anyone who cannot wear a face covering because of a disability, or physical or mental impairment; when seeing the mouth is necessary for communication; job safety requirements; eating and drinking in restaurants; when removal is necessary for receiving services; and more.

Louisiana
Face coverings must be worn in any indoor or outdoor space open to the public and when using transportation services.
Exceptions: Children younger than eight; anyone unable to wear a face covering because of a medical condition; when consuming food or drink; when communicating with someone who is hearing impaired; when giving a speech; and when removed for identification purposes. Parishes with a low rate of COVID-19 transmission, as determined by the state health department, may opt out of the requirements.

Maine
Cloth face coverings are required in public settings (e.g., grocery stores, retail stores, outdoor spaces, transportation services, etc.) where physical distancing cannot be maintained and at large gatherings.
Exceptions: Children under the age of five and anyone who has trouble breathing, a related medical condition, or who is unable to remove the covering without assistance.

Maryland
Face coverings must be worn by anyone over the age of five when using transportation services; at an indoor space open to the public; at an outdoor space open to the public where six feet physical distancing cannot be maintained; when obtaining healthcare services; and when engaging with co-workers.
Exceptions: Those who are unable to wear a face covering due to a disability or medical condition; when necessary to communicate; job safety requirements; when receiving services or consuming food or drink; or engaging in exercise and other physical activity.

Massachusetts
An executive order and public health agency guidance require face coverings when adequate physical distancing cannot be maintained in public spaces (e.g., inside or waiting to enter grocery and retail stores, when using transportation services, etc.). Violations can result in up to a $300 fine.
Exceptions: Children under the age of five and those who cannot safely wear a face covering. Individuals who decline to wear a mask because of a medical condition are not required to show documentation of the condition.

Michigan
Anyone who leaves their home or place of residence is required to wear a face covering when in any indoor public space, when outdoors and unable to maintain six feet physical distance from others, and when waiting or using transportation services.
Exceptions: Children younger than five; anyone who cannot medically tolerate a face covering; when eating or drinking at a restaurant; when exercising; when seeing the mouth is necessary for communication; and more.

Minnesota
Face coverings are required in indoor businesses and public settings, when using transportation services.
Exceptions: Areas within tribal authority; children five years old and younger; anyone unable to wear a face covering because of a medical or mental health condition or disability; and workplace safety requirements. Circumstances where a face covering may be removed include: when exercising, for identification purposes, when necessary to communicate, and more.

Mississippi
Face coverings are required in all buildings and spaces open to the public or in an outdoor space where six feet physical distancing is not possible.
Exceptions: Anyone who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical or behavioral condition or whose healthcare provider recommends one not be worn; when seeing the mouth is necessary for communication; while eating and drinking; during exercise and swimming; for children under the age of six; during religious worship; and more.

Montana
Anyone in an indoor space open to the public or taking part in an outdoor activity where six feet physical distancing is not possible or is not observed must wear a face covering.
Exceptions: Children under the age of five; anyone unable to wear a face covering due to medical condition; any activity where it is unsafe to wear a face covering; when communicating with a person who is hearing impaired; and other situations.

Nevada
Face coverings must be worn in public spaces.
Exceptions: Children ages nine or younger; individuals experiencing homelessness; those who cannot wear face coverings because of a medical condition or disability; anyone receiving personal services that require the removal of the face covering; when able to maintain adequate physical distancing outdoors.

New Hampshire
Face coverings are required—except for children under the age of two—for anyone at a gathering of 100 people or more and who cannot maintain six feet physical distancing from non-household members.

New Jersey
Retail, food, and entertainment businesses must require customers to wear face coverings. Face coverings are also required in outdoor public spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained unless doing so would inhibit a person’s health.
Exceptions: The order exempts children under the age of two.

New Mexico
Everyone, unless instructed otherwise by a healthcare provider, is directed to wear a mask or cloth face covering in public settings except when eating, drinking, or exercising.

New York
Everyone over the age of two and who can medically tolerate it, is required to wear a mask or cloth face covering in public settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

North Carolina
Retail businesses, restaurants, and personal care providers must require customers to wear face coverings when adequate physical distancing cannot be maintained. Riders of public and private transportation services are also required to wear face coverings when they are unable to physically distance from others. Businesses may be cited for failing to enforce the requirements, though law enforcement may not criminally enforce the requirements against individuals.
Exceptions: Children under 11 years of age; anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to put on and remove a face covering without assistance; persons who are strenuously exercising; and anyone communicating with a person that requires the mouth to be visible. Anyone who cannot wear a mask because of a medical condition is not required to show documentation of the condition.

Ohio
Face coverings are required to be worn in any indoor location that is not a residence, in outdoor settings where six feet physical distancing cannot be maintained, and when waiting for and using transportation services.
Exceptions: Children under ten years of age; people with medical conditions; mental health conditions; or a disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering; when communicating with a person who is hearing impaired; during exercise; when eating and drinking; and more.

Oregon
A mask, face shield, or face covering must be worn by anyone at a business or indoor public setting.
Exceptions: Children under 12 years of age, individuals exercising strenuously, and singers and musicians who maintain physical distancing. Anyone with a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe—or who have a disability that prevents them from wearing a covering—can request an accommodation in order to access the services or facilities available to the public.

Pennsylvania
Individuals are required to wear face coverings if they are outdoors and unable to maintain adequate physical distancing, in any indoor public setting, waiting for or using any transportation services, or obtaining healthcare services.
Exceptions: Children under the age of two; anyone with a medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe; anyone with a mental health condition or disability that prevents the wearing of a face covering; and when seeing the mouth is essential for communicating.

Puerto Rico
Everyone must wear a mask, scarf, or cloth face covering when visiting any establishment that is authorized to be open to the public. Failure to comply may result in a misdemeanor, a penalty of imprisonment not to exceed 6 months, or a fine of no more than $5,000, or both. For more information, see EO-2020-054.

Rhode Island
Anyone in public place, either outdoor or indoor, where physical distancing cannot be maintained is directed to wear a face covering unless doing so would impede their health. The state health agency may enforce the order and civil penalties may be assessed for failure to comply with the order.
Exceptions: Children under the age of two.

Texas
Everyone must wear a face covering when inside a public space or when in an outdoor public space and unable to maintain adequate physical distancing.
Exceptions: Children under the age of 10; persons with a medical condition or disability that prevent wearing a face covering; anyone receiving personal care services that require removing the face covering; and anyone living in a county that meets criteria to opt out of the requirements and that has done so. Failure to comply with the order can result in civil fines, though jail time is prohibited.

U.S. Virgin Islands
Anyone patronizing any business is required to wear a mask.
Exceptions: Children two and younger and individuals with acute respiratory issues.

Vermont
Face coverings are required in all indoor and outdoor public spaces where six feet physical distancing cannot by maintained.
Exceptions: Children under the age of two; anyone engaged in strenuous exercise; or anyone with a medical or developmental issue that is complicated by a face covering.

Virginia
Everyone 10 and older is required to wear a face covering in personal care business, retail stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, outdoor businesses when physical distancing cannot be maintained, government buildings, and when using transportation services. The state health agency has the authority to enforce the order.
Exceptions: Children under the age of 10 and anyone with medical conditions that do not allow the safe wearing of face coverings. Individuals who decline to wear a mask because of a medical condition are not required to show documentation of the condition.

Washington
Face coverings must be worn in any indoor or outdoor public setting.
Exemptions: Children under the age of five and anyone with a medical or mental health condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering. Face coverings may be removed in public settings when eating or drinking, exercising outdoors and able to maintain physical distancing, to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired, and other permitted instances.

West Virginia
Everyone nine and older must wear a face covering when they are in a confined, indoor public space.
Exceptions: Those who have trouble breathing or who cannot remove a face covering without assistance.

Wisconsin
Face coverings are required to be worn by everyone, age five and older, in indoor settings open to the public and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible.
Exceptions: when eating and drinking; communicating with a person who is hearing impaired; to meet workplace safety standards; for identification purposes, and more. Individuals who have trouble breathing, who have a medical or other condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering, and who are incarcerated are also exempt from the requirement.


Andy Baker-White, JD, MPH, is the senior director of state health policy at ASTHO