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You're Now Mandated to Wear a Face Mask in These 15 States

Don’t leave the house without one during these COVID-19 times.

Tensions are rising statewide, as some states require you to wear a face mask, while others don't, and some people don't want to wear one no matter what the officials say. (For the record: The scientists at the CDC recommend you "wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.") Here are the states that, according to research from Masks4all, require face masks under certain conditions, in the wake of California issuing a statewide mandate.




"Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings, including when shopping, taking public transit or seeking medical care, after growing concerns that an increase in coronavirus cases has been caused by residents failing to voluntarily take that precaution," reports the LA Times. "Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered — putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease," Newsom said in a statement. "California's strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations. That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing."



Female Doctor Portrait, protect Face surgical medical mask with Delaware Flag.

You're required to wear a mask everywhere in public. "Now is not the time for Delawareans to get complacent," said GovernorJohn Carney. "We face a very serious situation, with additional cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations statewide. All of our actions are guided by science, and intended to save lives. Wearing a face covering in public settings is important to prevent transmission of this disease."


New Jersey

View of the statue of Albert Einstein on EMC Square in Princeton, New Jersey, covered with a cloth face mask

You must wear a face mask everywhere in public where social distancing isn't possible—even in parts of the newly reopened parks. "Park visitors are still strongly encouraged to wear masks while out at the parks," reports "Face coverings are required to enter bathrooms, gatehouses and buildings at state parks and forests."



A Moon rising over Detroit, Michigan

Everywhere in public where social distancing isn't possible, wear a mask. "Michigan residents must continue wearing protective face masks while shopping until at least July 15, according to a new executive order issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer," reports MLive. Says the order: "Any individual who enters a food-selling establishment or pharmacy who is able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief."



Maryland Medical mask

Don't forget your mask in businesses and on public transport. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, told WJZ that Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. area got "hit pretty hard" by the pandemic, but is doing OK and "hopefully, the cases will continue to come down."



CTA Bus Drivers in masks taking a break near Foster and Broadway

"All Illinoisans should wear as mask or face covering when they must leave their home or report to work for essential operations and they either cannot or it is impractical to maintain 6 feet of physical distance between themselves and others," says the state. The Illinois Board of Education is recommending schools open in the fall—with kids wearing face masks. 



"It is required that masks are worn when visiting businesses to protect employees, employees' families, and communities as a whole," Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said Thursday. "Mask-wearing has proven to be an important deterrent to the spread of the virus, and as more counties move to green and more things reopen, we need to be vigilant in our efforts to continue our mitigation efforts."


New York

woman with mask walking in nearly empty new york street

Masks are required everywhere in public where social distancing isn't possible, though photos from protests—and nights out on the town in Manhattan and the Hamptons—show not everyone is wearing them. Tensions are increasing. "A New York City woman plans to file a $10 million lawsuit against the police department after she was arrested last month for improperly wearing a face mask while on a subway platform," according to The Hill.



Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, Honolulu, Oahu Island, Hawaii

"Hawaii officials are reminding people that face coverings are still required under state law to enter a business or a public space, especially now with more people leaving their homes, they said masks can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus," reports KHON.



Female Doctor Portrait, protect Face surgical medical mask with Connecticut Flag

Gov. Ned Lamont's executive order has been in effect since April 10. It 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."

RELATED: 15 Mistakes You're Making With Face Masks


Rhode Island

Two masked elderly women maintain social distancing during their conversation in the park

Masks are required whenever social distancing is impossible—but even officials forget sometimes. "The late hours in front of the State House last night were tense and hectic, and in that moment I neglected to put on a mask," Gov. Gina Raimondo said in an emailed statement to the Providence Journal a few weeks ago regarding protests. "That was wrong, it was counter to our public health guidance, and I apologize. I have worked today to track down the names of those I was in contact with so that they can be added to my contact tracing notebook."



Richmond, Virginia, USA downtown skyline on the James River.

You need a mask in all public indoor spaces, including public transportation and businesses. "On June 18, Gov. Ralph Northam addressed what his plan for Phase 3 of reopening the commonwealth will look like as trends on hospitalizations, deaths, and percent positivity continue heading down," according to WHSV. "As of Thursday morning's latest COVID-19 numbers for Virginia, the 'percent positivity' rate of how many Virginians are testing positive for COVID-19 has been steadily decreasing over time, though daily testing numbers in recent days have fallen."



The Edward Everett Hale statue wears a gown and mask, placed by a Bostonian

"A face covering can include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including dust masks, scarves and bandanas," says the government, who adds they should be worn everywhere in public where social distancing isn't possible.

RELATED: 9 Side Effects of Wearing Face Masks


New Mexico

New Mexico Flag. Coronavirus

Weeks ago, Mayors from various cities implored their citizens to wear a mask, and it's required everywhere in public where social distancing isn't possible. "I'm grateful for the leadership of mayors from New Mexico communities large and small, rural and urban, north and south in supporting this simple but effective way to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as we gradually and safely reopen the economy," Gov. Lujan Grisham said.




Maine has ordered wearing a cloth face-covering in public settings where maintaining physical distancing is difficult. Says the state order: "'Cloth Face Covering' is a protection that covers the nose and mouth; fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; is secured with ties or ear loops; has multiple layers of fabric; allows for breathing without restriction; and is able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to its shape"


How to Stay Healthy

woman put on a fabric handmade mask on her face

Politics aside, the recommendation is to follow the CDC guidelines and wear a mask. "COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Studies and evidence on infection control report that these droplets usually travel around 6 feet (about two arms lengths)," says the agency. "A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others."

As for you: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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