Coronavirus US: which states will want to lift the indoor mask mandate?
States across the US have dropped statewide mask mandates as covid-19 case numbers plummeted, but there still exists some places where you need to wear one.
Over the course of the covid-19 pandemic, except for the federal mask mandate on transport and federal government buildings, across the US there was a patchwork of requirements. A judge struck down the nationwide federal mandate for wearing protective face coverings on commercial flights, public transit and in transportation hubs 18 April.
The CDC is challenging that decision, but the health safety agency has relaxed its rules on when people need to wear masks in recent months. However, the guidelines still recommend wearing a mask where transmission levels are high. The CDC provides a website to learn more about preventative measures you can take and where you can your area’s risk level.
What states still require people to wear a mask?
During the pandemic the imposition of statewide mandates became a political hot-button topic with some states even placing bans, or attempting to, on local authorities and school districts from implementing masking requirements. Of the 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that had some form of public or indoor mask mandate, all have been rescinded or allowed to expire.
Likewise, the majority of cities and counties that had some ordinance for masking up have followed suit as the covid-19 case numbers have declined dramatically since spiking to their highest levels of the pandemic in January with the Omicron variant.
However, although all statewide mandates for masking up in public and indoor places have ended, there still exist face covering requirements for some settings in select states and localities. These are generally for “high-density” or “congregate” and “high-risk” settings such as health care and long-term care facilities, as well as correctional facilities and shelters for the homeless or victims of domestic abuse.
Apart from any federal, state or local government requirements to wear a mask, businesses and other private entities may implement their own policies to protect their employees and customers.
States and local governments that have face mask rules
For those that that are in New York City, although the mayor relaxed many of the indoor mask rules, you’ll want to carry one with you, businesses may require you to put one on. You will definitely need one if you go to a Broadway show where you must wear a mask, and you will most likely have to off Broadway as well, although it’s up to each venue.
Even though the federal mask mandate on public transit is on hold, you’ll need it on all New York City MTA public transit, as well in taxis and rideshares where they are still required, but not across the river in New Jersey. Mask mandates on public transport and ridesharing also applies in Colorado and Los Angeles County.
If you visit or live in Columbia, South Carolina you’ll need to mask up, in part of the city at least. Richland County, which encompasses part of the metro area, extended its mask mandate for indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status until at least 1 May. Norfolk, Virginia requires masks in city buildings and clinical Department of Public Health facilities, including WIC.
There are fourteen states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, that still require masks in “high-density” or “congregate” and “high-risk” settings. These include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.