Policies on Required Use of Masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
An Updated Nationwide Review
[i]

This is an excerpt in HTML. Use the linked PDF Edition for latest and full text
 .
Date: July __, 2020                          
By Richard Cauchi, health policy research, Colorado Ideas 2.0 [ii]   
 

OVERVIEW: The use of cloth face coverings or face masks has been one of the central issues, and tools, in the global fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is striking because, only since late March, this has become a simple, low cost or no-cost action that virtually any individual can take.

The CDC now officially recommends use of such masks, as of April 4. (p. 9) As widely agreed, they can prevent person-to-person COVID infections and literally save lives in any local or neighborhood setting, worldwide. The device can be a simple, do-it-yourself one, using age-old, low-tech cloth material (including multilayer cloth or if necessary, a bandana or  scarf.) With home-made or commercially sewn face coverings now encouraged worldwide (costing between free and a few dollars), literally hundreds of millions of people globally can protect themselves. i  
> Read more about the science, scarcity and economics of face coverings, p. 9.
 
STATES AND LOCALS IN THE LEAD: In the U.S, there are now more than 42 states and territories, with additional regional and local jurisdictions, that have seen the medically indicated need to make mask/face covering use a mandatory legal requirement, not just a recommendation. Some orders are broadly designed for individuals in public settings and/or employees in public-use buildings. Others are focused or limited to certain specified employees or professions. A new estimate is that by mid-July about 214 million residents were affected by statewide orders, or about 64 percent of the nation and territories.[i] Another 40 million resided in counties and cities with local mandatory orders, for a national total of about 255 million or 76 percent of the population. This difference became more distinct and urgent, with the phased reopening of businesses and federal, state and local orders allowing indoor dining and group gatherings.  For this next phase, the broader, near-universal or use of masks in “appropriate settings” is increasingly seen as a low-cost tool that supports normal community interaction and freedom of movement. Compared to lockdowns and “stay-at-home” orders, required masks, combined with required 6-foot social distancing and handwashing become the three tools that allow businesses and recreation to reopen more safely.
 
This report is a review of latest data on states and other jurisdictions that have moved to increase the use of masks and cloth face coverings, especially describing those with mandatory or required uses. The lists below include links to sources and citations, but the document itself is not intended as legal or medical advice. Some mandatory use plans have pending expiration dates or may be rescinded due to opposition. Because all policies are subject to change, sometimes on short notice, readers should note listed dates and also use source web links to identify future updates. 
 
STATES: Mandated Cloth Face Coverings/Masks in Public
      *-Data sources include: National Governors Association [ii] excerpts accessed 4/28 – 7/22/2020.
LATEST CHANGES & NEWS:  Colorado (July 17), Arkansas (July 20),  Alabama (July 16), Ohio (July 17), Indiana (July 27), Minnesota (July 25),  Montana (July 15), Kentucky (July 10), Texas (July 3), Kansas (July 3), Louisiana (July 13) and West Virginia (July 7) governors each imposed a broad required use of masks order for the first time or expanded earlier limited requirements.      
>  “Masks work:” latest medical science data
 
This table integrates NGA, ASTHO, Masks4All [i], author research and a university-based collaboration that measures 30 policy or legal actions by states. This excerpt only covers face masks and cloth coverings. [ii]   For text & details, see pp. 3-9.  The category “essential businesses” now also includes individuals or employees in public-facing businesses, with exceptions for medical conditions. [iii],
Key: Dark shading = broader application | Light shading = limited application    (a visual guide only; see notes)
State
State of emergency
Mandate face mask use by some/all individuals in public spaces
Mandate face mask use by employees in public-facing businesses
Face mask statewide  ”recommended”
 
(NGA data)
Alabama .
3/13/2020
(also cities)     
7/15/2020
* (also cities)
7/15/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Alaska .
3/11/2020
(order lifted; now recommended)
5/22/2020
(order lifted; now recommended)
5/22/2020
Yes
Arizona .
3/11/2020
(state order lifted; now cities/counties)
5/2020
(state order lifted; now cities/counties)
Partial 5/7/2020
Yes
Arkansas .
3/11/2020
7/17/2020
7/17/2020
Yes, besides mandate
California .
3/4/2020
* (+ major cities & counties) 6/18/2020
* (+ major cities & counties)  .  5/2020; 6/18/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Colorado .
3/11/2020
* (major cities & counties)  7/17/2020
7/17/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Connecticut .
3/10/2020
4/20/2020
4/3/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Delaware  .
3/13/2020
4/28/2020
5/1/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Dist. of Columbia
3/11/2020
  (certain businesses)
4/15/2020
  (certain businesses)
4/15/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Florida
3/9/2020
* (cities & counties)  0
* (+ cities & counties)         
(certain businesses)     5/2020
yes
Georgia
3/14/2020
0
(certain businesses)    4/23/2020
yes
Hawaii
3/4/2020
  (certain businesses)
4/16/2020
(certain businesses)
4/16/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Idaho
3/13/2020
* (+ major cities & counties) 0
* (+ major cities & counties) 0
yes
Illinois
3/9/2020
5/1/2020
5/1/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Indiana
3/6/2020
(certain businesses)
 7/27/2020
 (certain businesses)
5/4/2020
yes
Iowa
3/17/2020
0
0
yes
Kansas
3/12/2020
* 7/3/2020
6/29/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Kentucky  .
3/6/2020
7/10/2020
(businesses must provide)
7/10/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Louisiana 
3/11/2020
7/13/2020
 
5/1/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Maine
3/15/2020
5/1/2020
5/1/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Maryland
3/5/2020
4/18/2020
4/18/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Massachusetts .
3/10/2020
5/6/2020
5/6/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Michigan .
3/10/2020
4/26/2020
4/26/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Minnesota
3/13/2020
7/25/2020
(order lifted;; then restored
7/25/2020
yes
Mississippi
3/14/2020
(certain businesses& counties)
7/2020; 5/8/2020
(certain businesses & counties)
5/7/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Missouri
3/13/2020
0
0
yes
Montana
3/12/2020
(also 1 city     
7/15/2020
(
7/15/2020
yes
Nebraska
3/13/2020
(certain businesses)
  * 5/4/2020
 (certain businesses)
 * 5/4/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Nevada
3/12/2020
6/26/2020
 (most businesses)
 * 5/4/2020
Yes, besides mandate
New Hampshire
3/13/2020
**(all health facilities)
(certain businesses)
5/1/2020
Yes, besides mandate
New Jersey
3/9/2020
(certain businesses)
4/8/2020
4/8/2020
Yes, besides mandate
New Mexico
3/11/2020
5/4/2020
(certain businesses)
5/2020
yes
New York
3/7/2020
4/17/2020
4/17/2020
Yes, besides mandate
North Carolina
3/10/2020
* (+ cities & counties) 6/26/20200
* (cities & counties)
6/26/2020
Yes, besides mandate
North Dakota .
3/13/2020
0
(order lifted; recommended only)
4/28/2020
Yes
Ohio
3/9/2020
(certain counties)
7/17/2020
(certain businesses & counties)
4/29/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Oklahoma
3/15/2020
 * (city) 0
* (city) 0
yes
Oregon
3/8/2020
(certain counties)
7/1/2020
(certain counties & businesses)
5/7/2020; 6/22/2020
yes
Pennsylvania
3/6/2020
(order lifted & reimposed)
7/1/2020
4/19/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Rhode Island
3/9/2020
4/18/2020
4/18/2020
Yes, besides mandate
South Carolina
3/13/2020
* (cities & counties)  0
* (cities & counties)  0
yes
South Dakota
3/13/2020
0
0
yes
Tennessee
3/12/2020
(certain businesses)
4/29/2020
(certain businesses)
4/29/2020
yes
Texas .
3/19/2020
* (cities & counties) 7/3/2020
* (cities & counties)
7/3/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Utah  .
3/6/2020
6/26/2020
(order lifted & reimposed)
6/26/2020
 * Yes
Vermont
3/13/2020
(certain businesses)
4/17/2020
(certain businesses)
4/17/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Virginia .
3/12/2020
(certain businesses)
5/29/2020
(certain businesses)
5/29/2020
yes
Washington
2/29/2020
(certain businesses)
 (+cities & counties)   6/2020
(certain businesses)
 (+cities & counties)     5/4/2020
yes
West Virginia
3/16/2020
(order lifted, then reimposed)
6/7/2020
(order lifted; then reimposed)
5/4/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Wisconsin
3/12/2020
0
0
yes
Wyoming
3/13/2020
(certain businesses)
5/1/2020
(certain businesses)
5/1/2020
Yes, besides mandate
Total for policy
51
*  statewide (+ local)
 *  42 statewide (+ local)
51
Updated 7/22/2020      

 

Use the PDF Edition for latest and full text (16 pages)

Notes & Sources (Use the PDF Edition)


[i] In this document the term “masks” includes “cloth face coverings” (CDC-approved designs and informal solutions such as scarfs and bandanas), and the range of commonly used “medical masks” and N95 masks approved by OSHA for various industrial or medical uses.  Medical and N95 masks have been in short supply, and many have been donated to health facilities.  Individuals sometimes own and wear non-sterile medical masks at home, and generally may use them safely without conflicting with guidance on donations. Exceptions or exemptions typically include “Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.” (Utah example)
[ii] Author: Richard Cauchi is an independent health policy advisor. Previously he was Health Program Director at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) leading research and communication on state health coverage, regulation, access, and financing, from 1997 to Jan. 2019. This memo was prepared on a pro-bono basis, based on government actions and is not intended as legal advice or advocacy. Colorado Ideas 2.0 is based in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

[i] Masks4All is a non-profit research project tracking state and local activities and placed a full-page ad July 12 headlined “Over 100 Prominent Health Experts Call for Universal Mask Requirements”
[ii] See New Jersey order for an example of medical and practical exceptions to a mandatory order.
[iii] Joint research by Boston University, NYU and Bowdoin College and NGA, via offline data. Expanded source data available on request.  Cite as Raifman J, Nocka K, Jones D, Bor J, Lipson S, Jay J, and Chan P. (2020). "COVID-19 US state policy database." Accessed by author 7/2/2020.

[i] Cumulatively, between March 15 and May 30, 2020 at least 33 states and territories, plus major cities and counties in California, Colorado, Texas, Washington plus other locations not listed here. Counting states and cities with required masks for some employees, at least 42 states have or have had some mandatory mask rule, but not always during the same weeks. Regional or city-only actions added of June-July, plus numerous adjustments and amendments, make a precise 50-state count more difficult.
[ii] National Governors Association (NGA); Coronavirus overview webpage |
   • State Action Tracking Chart:  Spreadsheet | PDF  (easy printing) | -Update-  July 22, 2020
   • NGA: Business Reopening Strategies: 50-state table – July 2020