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Face masks: Everything you need to know
Your hub for buying, wearing and latest news. Plus the latest updates for your local area.
What's in this guide?
- Shop masks
- Latest updates
- How to fit your mask properly
- How to remove your mask properly
- Should I wear a mask after I've been vaccinated?
- Do I need to wear two masks?
- Which states require face masks in public?
- Which type of mask do I need?
- Guide to choosing a face mask
- How to make your own face mask
- Face mask charities and nonprofits in the US
- What's the difference between NIOSH-approved and FDA-cleared face masks?
- What's the difference between P2, N95 and KN95 face masks?
- What type of face masks do Americans prefer?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises the public to wear face masks or covers in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
There are many options available to the general public including N95 or KN95 masks, cloth masks and surgical or disposable masks. Our guides offer to help you purchase, use or create your own masks while keeping you up to date on the latest updates from your state or county.
Tuesday, April 27: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new mask guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. Fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks in indoor public settings, when outdoors in crowds with unvaccinated people from multiple households and when visiting unvaccinated individuals who are at an increased risk of severe complications from a COVID-19 infection.
Tuesday, March 23: Anderson City in South Carolina has extended its face mask mandate for another 30 days until April 26. A member from the city’s council stated that the additional 30 days will allow for the time to evaluate if coronavirus cases in the area remain steady or if they decline. The mandate was originally set to expire on March 27.
Monday, March 22: Jackson State University in Mississippi is giving away gift cards to randomly selected students who participate in its “Thank You for Masking Up” initiative. A representative for the university says the initiative was created to help encourage students to continue to wear masks on campus. At the university, face masks are required by staff, students and visitors in all classrooms, hallways, auditoriums, instructional spaces, laboratories, common areas, shared spaces and restrooms.
Sunday, March 21: Several grocery store chains in Utah will continue to require face masks in stores after Utah’s statewide mandate ends on April 10. Harmons, a popular grocer in the state, along with Smith’s Market and Lin’s Fresh Market, will require staff and customers to wear face coverings inside their stores and will continue to observe other COVID-19 safety practices as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Friday, March 19: Utah schools have issued a reminder that face masks are required for the rest of the school year. While the statewide mask mandate in Utah ends on April 10, public schools are subject to a different order that doesn’t expire until July. Masks are required for all staff, students and visitors on school property, on buses and at the District Office, including individuals who have been vaccinated.
Thursday, March 18: Shelby County in Tennessee has issued a new health directive on face masks. Under the directive, face masks are required in restaurants and other businesses. Medical-grade masks are recommended, though multi-layered fabric masks are also acceptable. Scarves, ski masks and balaclavas are not acceptable face coverings.
Wednesday, March 17: The city of Columbia in South Carolina has extended its face mask ordinance for two months. Under the ordinance, every person under the age of 10 must wear a face mask while inside public buildings, waiting to enter a building, interacting with people in outdoor public spaces and on public or private transportation. Currently, South Carolina does not have a statewide mask mandate, but individual cities and jurisdictions are free to institute their own.
Tuesday, March 16: The City of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina has issued a notice to remind visitors and residents that face masks are required within city limits. Anyone entering a closed retail space, including grocery stores, pharmacies, fitness centers and more, must wear a face covering. Failure to do so is considered a civil infraction and could result in a fine. Currently, South Carolina does not have a statewide mask mandate, but individual cities and jurisdictions are free to institute their own.
Monday, March 15: Padre Island National Seashore is reminding visitors that face masks are required inside facilities at all times and outdoors when social distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained. Though the statewide mask mandate was lifted across Texas on March 10, 2021, the Padre Island National Seashore is managed by the Department of the Interior, a federal agency, and is subject to the executive order issued by President Biden. The executive order was issued in January 2021 and requires mask-wearing in all federally controlled facilities and land, including national parks.
Saturday, March 13: Ypsilanti Township in Michigan is donating thousands face masks to local residents. The masks are available from the Ford Lake Park Ranger House located at Ford Lake Park in Ypsilanti. Ford Motor Company donated 50,000 masks to the township and has given out over 120 million masks to communities across the US.
Friday, March 12: Most Georgetown facilities in Texas have opened to visitors but will require them to wear face masks. All employees are also required to wear a mask inside city facilities and when physical distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained. The employees must also wear masks when interacting with customers or residents face to face.
Thursday, March 11: Port Royal, South Carolina has extended its face mask order through April 14, 2021. Under the order, people in public spaces and employees interacting with the public are required to wear face masks. Exceptions include children under the age of 12, those with medical exemptions, those doing stenuous exercise or those performing music. Violators may be fined. Currently, South Carolina does not have a statewide mask mandate.
Wednesday, March 10: The city of Austin will keep enforcing its face mask order after the statewide mandate across Texas lifts today. Austin’s mask order was originally adopted in July 2020 and will remain in place until at least April 15, 2021, after which it may be extended. Under the order, individuals must wear masks inside businesses and in outdoor public spaces where six feet or more cannot be maintained.
Tuesday, March 9: Many parishes in Texas will continue to require face masks during Mass even after the statewide mandate is lifted on March 10, 2021. Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso has stated that churches in the area have developed their own policies regarding masks and have the right to enforce mask-wearing even without the statewide mandate. Several parishes will also limit capacity to 25 percent to encourage social distancing.
Monday, March 8: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a new report on the effectiveness of face masks. According to the report, statewide mask mandates have been linked to a 2% drop in COVID-19 cases within 100 days of the mandate taking effect. For states that eased restrictions and allowed in-person dining, COVID-19 cases rose by 1.1% and deaths by 3% in the months following.
Sunday, March 7: Several college campuses in Texas have extended their face mask requirements for students, staff and visitors even as the statewide mandate is set to expire on March 10, 2021. These campuses include Austin Community College, Baylor University, Paris Junior College, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, Southwestern University, the Texas A&M University System, Trinity University, Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at Austin and UT-El Paso. Other universities and school systems are yet to make an announcement but say they are reviewing policies to decide next steps.
Saturday, March 6: Albertsons supermarket chain will continue to require masks in stores after the statewide mandate in Texas expires on March 10, 2021. A spokesperson for the company has stated that not all of its frontline workers have received the vaccine, so masks will still be required in stores for employees and customers. Albertsons is based in Idaho and is one of the nation’s largest supermarket chains, operating under several names.
Friday, March 5: Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama has extended her statewide mask order until April 9, 2021, after which it will expire without further renewal. The governor hopes the extended order will give more individuals time to be vaccinated and for businesses to develop their own mask policies, if they choose to implement one. Governor Ivey has also stated that she plans to continue wearing a mask after the order has expired.
Thursday, March 4: El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser has announced that the city will continue to enforce mask-wearing within its community. Hospitals, government buildings, colleges and El Paso International Airport are among the public spaces where face coverings will be required to enter, as well as some big box retailers. The statewide mask mandate across Texas is set to expire on March 10, 2021.
Wednesday, March 3: The West Lafayette City Council has voted to extend its face mask mandate for another six months. The mandate states that individuals must wear a face covering when in businesses or public facilities, on public transportation and in any outdoor space where social distancing of six feet can’t be maintained. At the beginning of the pandemic, West Lafayette was the first city in Indiana to issue a mask mandate.
Tuesday, March 2: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued an emergency face mask order for all freight and passenger rail operations. The emergency order encourages compliance with President Biden’s executive order and the mandate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under the order, all railroad personnel must wear a face mask while engaged in railroad operations. Passengers not in compliance can be refused service and subject to fines.
Saturday, February 27: Disney World has updated its face mask policy while dining inside its parks. Guests over the age of 2 must now wear face coverings while standing, sitting or waiting to be seated. Face coverings can only be removed while actively eating or drinking, and guests must wait until food and beverages have arrived to remove their masks. Disney World reopened its parks in July of 2020 and has continuously updated its mask policy as the pandemic evolves.
Friday, February 26: The Kalispell Public Schools Board of Trustees in Montana unanimously voted to extend its face mask requirement in schools. According to the requirement, all students, staff, visitors and volunteers are required to wear face coverings in the district’s schools. On February 12, 2021, the state of Montana rescinded its mask mandate, though many counties and jurisdictions have extended their mask-wearing ordinances.
Thursday, February 25: The city council of Edmund City, Oklahoma extended its mask mandate for another month until March 23, 2021. Under the mandate, individuals must wear a mask in public spaces unless exempt. Currently, Oklahoma does not have a statewide mandate, but various cities and jurisdictions have implemented mask-wearing ordinances.
Wednesday, February 24: The Salvation Army and the Ford Motor Company teamed up to provide over 1.3 million free face masks to communities across Arizona. The masks were distributed through select Ford dealerships and Salvation Army store locations across the state. While the primary event took place on Tuesday, February 23, several Salvation Army locations will continue to distribute free masks as supplies last.
Monday, February 22: The University of Boston has updated its mask-wearing guidelines to match research done earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventation (CDC). The university now advises students to wear masks that consist of two or three layers of material or to wear a cloth mask layered over a surgical mask. The guidelines also advise students to ensure any mask they wear fits snugly against the face and that no air escapes out the sides.
Sunday, February 21: Mayor Michael Victorino of Maui County, Hawaii, has introduced a “Mask Up for Maui County” program to boost compliance with wearing face masks amoung the general public. Under the program, volunteers will pass out complimentary face masks to anyone without one along with instructions that mask-wearing in Maui County is mandatory. Proper face mask use had reached nearly 96% compliance earlier this year but recently slipped to 88%, according to Hawaii Department of Health. The program aims to reverse that decline.
Sunday, February 21: The Power of Life Foundation, an organization that provides clothing, food and other necessities to those in need, gave away 30,000 face masks this weekend in partnership with Alabama State University (ASU). The foundation distributed face masks to the general public at the ASU’s football stadium. While working to help those in need acquire face masks, the giveaway was also intended to create more awareness of mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saturday, February 20: Premier Health CareFlight, an air ambulance company in Ohio, has purchased high-tech face masks for its crews. The masks can be custom-fitted to each crew member and come with a replaceable filter and built-in microphone, allowing the crew to communicate with each other more easily while in flight. The N95 masks previously used by the flight crews will be allocated to hospitals to help increase their stock.
Friday, February 19: ASTM International, an organization that sets standards for various materials and products worldwide, has approved nonregulatory standards for face coverings. ASTM International developed the standards in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of independently made face masks. A spokesperson for ASTM International says the standards will help consumers understand the quality of product they’re buying. Manufacturers seeking to use the F3502 label on their products will need to send face mask samples to a certified testing laboratory for approval.
Thursday, February 18: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has issued a reminder that all visitors to USACE facilities are required to wear a face mask. Masks must be worn inside all USACE buildings at all times and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained. Individuals engaged in water activities where masks are at risk of becoming wet are exempt while engaging in those activities. The USACE’s requirement complies with the federal executive order and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Wednesday, February 17: Federal court buildings in Manhattan now require individuals to wear two masks while inside. Individuals can either wear a properly fitted disposable mask under a cloth mask or one KN95 or N95 mask. Security guards at the court buildings will enforce the mask mandate. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines to include double-masking after a study revealed it was more effective at controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Tuesday, February 16: In Hawaii, new rules for wearing face masks on public transportation are in effect, including passengers on TheBus and TheHandivan. According to the rules, only double or triple layer cloth masks, disposable masks or two-layer gaiters are allowed. Passengers must wear face masks at all times, including bus stops and while waiting to board.
Monday, February 15: The US Coast Guard has issued a bulletin stating that all people on commercial vessels are requiried to wear a mask in accordance with President Biden’s executive order and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements. Those found in noncompliance could be subjected to civil or criminal penalties. The US Coast Guard is working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to compel adherence to the federal executive order and CDC requirements.
Thursday, February 11: The city of Beaufort in South Carolina has extended its mask mandate through April 9, 2021. According to the ordinance, masks must be worn in public buildings by employees and the general public. The mandate has been in place since June 2020, and the major of Beaufort hopes that as cases of COVID-19 continue to decline in the area, the ordinance may not need to be renewed in April. Currently, the state of South Carolina does not have a statewide mask mandate.
Wednesday, February 10: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its mask guidelines to include wearing two masks, specifically a cloth mask over a surgical mask. The updated guidelines come after a study by the CDC revealed that wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask is up to 95% effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. In lieu of two masks, the CDC is also recommending masks with a nose wire or using a mask fitter or bracer. However, wearing two surgical masks or any additional mask over an N95 mask is not recommended.
Wednesday, February 10: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a study that showed two masks as more effective against COVID-19. More specifically, the study revealed that wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask is more than 90% effective against the spread of the coronavirus. The research also noted that tying knots in the ear loops of surgical masks increased protection substantially as it created a tighter fit to the face.
Tuesday, February 09: The city of Glendale, Wisconsin has passed an ordinance requiring face masks in public, indoor areas. According to the ordinance, any individual four years or older is required to wear a face mask in an indoor area when social distancing of six feet or more is not possible. The state of Wisconsin currently has a mask mandate as well, but it has been repealed by the state’s Senate.
Saturday, February 06: The Transportation Security Authority (TSA) has recommended fines for travelers in violation of the federal face mask requirement. Fines start at $250 and increase up to $1500 for repeat offenders, though TSA agents can issue fines outside of this range. The federal mandates require travelers to wear face masks on public transportation, including airport checkpoints, bus and rail stations, passenger aircraft, passenger railroads and buses.
Friday, February 05: The Southwestern Center for Independent Living (SWCIL) in Minnesota is donating thousands of face masks to people in the community. Though the SWCIL typically serves individuals with disabilities, Community Project Coordinator Jennifer Cox stated that anyone can reach out for a face mask if they need one. To date, the SWCIL has given away over 20,000 face masks.
Thursday, February 04: US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) now requires all travelers to wear face masks at all land, air and sea ports of entry into the United States. The requirement is in accordance with President Biden’s executive order and the emergency order from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventation (CDC). While masks must be worn at all times, CBP officers may instruct travelers to temporarily lower or remove their masks for identification purposes.
Wednesday, February 03: Under President Biden’s executive order, the National Parks Service (NPS) now requires visitors, employees, contractors and partners to wear face masks inside all NPS buildings and facilities. Masks are also required outdoors wherever social distancing cannot be maintained, such as crowded park trails or overlooks. Park rangers may issue citations to anyone not in compliance with the mandate.
Tuesday, February 02: As vaccines continue to roll out, experts warn that even those who have been vaccinated will need to keep wearing face masks for the foreseeable future. Experts advise that until herd immunity is reached, meaning 50-80% of the population has been vaccinated, COVID-19 can still spread. Also, health experts stress it can take weeks after the second dose of the vaccination to reach 95% effectiveness.
Monday, February 01: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now requires travelers to wear face masks per Presdient Biden’s executive order. Face masks are required in airports, bus and rail stations, as well as while on passenger aircraft, public transportation, passenger railroads and buses operating on scheduled fixed-routes. The TSA will enforce this requirement until May 11, 2021.
Saturday, January 30: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released an order requiring masks on various modes of transportation in the US, including conveyances and at stations, ports or similar transportation hubs. The CDC mandate builds on President Biden’s executive order on mask-wearing issued on January 21. According to the order, passengers must wear a mask in transit except for brief periods, such as to eat, drink or take medication.
Thursday, January 28: Some health leaders have begun recommending double-masking and say wearing two masks may offer better protection against the new COVID-19 variants. However, experts in West Michigan state that research is still being conducted on the effectiveness of double-masking. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not currently recommend wearing two masks, it does state that cloth masks should have multiple layers.
Wednesday, January 27: White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci stated during an interview on NBC News Today that wearing two masks may be more effective in combating the spread of COVID-19. Preliminary research also shows that wearing two masks, specifically a surgical mask and a cloth mask, can provide maximum protection when worn properly. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not issued any recommendations or guidelines on wearing two masks.
Tuesday, January 26: Lewiston City Council in Idaho voted to extend their face mask mandate for 90 days. The mandate requires individuals to wear face masks or shields whenever social distancing can’t be maintained. Currently, Idaho does not have a statewide mask mandate.
Monday, January 25: The University of California, San Diego is developing a face mask sensor that detects COVID-19. The “test strip” attaches an individual’s face mask and monitors their breath and saliva for coronavirus-related molecules. The sensor can also detect if any infected molecules from others have reached the individual wearing the sensor. The National Institutes of Health funded the sensor’s development.
Sunday, January 24: Gwinnett County in Atlanta, Georgia has issued an order requiring face coverings or face masks inside county buildings. The order applies to all employees as well as visitors. Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson said the policy is due to the increasing COVID-19 cases in the area. Currently, Georgia does not have a statewide mask mandate.
Thursday, January 22: Governor Doug Burgum allowed North Dakota’s mask mandate to expire earlier this week. While face coverings are no longer required in the state, officials still recommend face masks in public spaces. Despite the governor’s decision, many cities and jurisdictions within the state have extended their mask mandates, including Jamestown, Minot, Valley City, West Fargo and Williston.
Wednesday, January 21: President Biden signed his second executive order requiring mask-wearing on certain domestic modes of transportation. Masks must be worn in compliance with CDC guidelines in airports, commercial aircraft, trains, public maritime vessels, including ferries, intercity bus services and other forms of public transportation as defined in section 5302 of title 49, United States Code.
Wednesday, January 21: President Biden has signed an executive order requiring mask-wearing by federal employees and contractors and individuals inside federal buildings and on federal lands. This includes but is not limited to post offices, some libraries, national parks and the military. The executive order also encourages public compliance with mask-wearing and other public health best practices as recommended by the CDC, such as social distancing and handwashing.
Tuesday, January 20: Governor Tony Evers has extended Wisconsin’s mask mandate until March 20. The emergency order states that individuals are required to wear a face covering around people outside of their household. Last week, Wisconsin identified its first case of the new COVID-19 variant, which is believed to be more slightly contagious than previous strains.
Tuesday, January 19: Volunteers in Pawtucket, Rhode Island handed out 20,000 face masks to their community on Monday in honor of MLK day. The volunteers stated their service was inspired by Martin Luther King’s dedication to serving others. The majority of the face masks were distributed in Pawtucket and Central Falls, two of the hardest-hit communities by the pandemic.
Monday, January 18: The Texas House has unanimously adopted mandatory face masks for members while inside the chamber or a committee hearing room. The rule applies to all house members, staff and the public. Witnesses and lawmakers may remove masks only while speaking from a microphone, while protected by barrier and while socially distanced from others.
Saturday, January 16: The consumer electronics trade show CES 2021 revealed several high-tech face masks to the public this week in the first all-digital version of the conference. Trends show companies aiming for maximum safety and protection against COVID-19 while also improving breathability, style and accessibility.
Friday, January 15: Popular fast food chain Papa John’s donated 1000,000 face masks to the Texas Restaurant Association in San Antonio. Through the donation, Papa John’s employees hope to help their fellow restaurant workers and owners by offsetting some of the cost associated with the pandemic regulations for the food and beveraged industry.
Thursday, January 14: The Hoodoo Sky Area in Oregon is cracking down on its face mask requirements. All guests are required to wear face coverings in shared enclosed indoor and outdoor spaces, outdoors when a minimum distance of six feet cannot be maintained and before entering all sky lines. Guests who refuse to comply will be asked to leave immediately and may have their lift tickets or season passes suspended.
Wednesday, January 13: The Ford Motor Company teamed up with nonprofits and local dealerships to distribute 680,000 face masks to those in need in Northern Virginia. Ford has already produced 50 million masks for donation to first responders and nonprofit groups and hopes to cross the 100 million mark by mid-2021.
Tuesday, January 12: Iowa City has extended its face mask mandate until May 31, 2021. The mandate requires individuals to wear a mask in any indoor public space, while using public transportation services and in outdoor spaces where social distancing of at least six feet apart is not possible. The mandate was exnteded on Monday and is effective immediately.
Monday, January 11: A recent study conducted by Signs.com revealed that the majority of people only wash their resuable face masks weekly, and others have reused disposable face masks multiple times. The CDC recommends washing reusable face masks daily and throwing away disposable face masks after a single use.
Sunday, January 10: The state of Colorado has extended their mask order for another thirty days. The executive order, titled D 2021 007, requires individuals in Colorado to wear a non-medical face mask covering their mouth and nose. Under the order, mask wearing is mandatory for essential workers and those in government roles, as well as individuals over the age of 10 in any public indoor space.
Friday, January 8: The Indiana Pacers will allow a limited number of fans to attend their games, but face masks and health checks are required. Face masks must be worn at all times when not eating or drinking, and several types of face coverings are not permitted, including neck gaiters, bandanas, and masks with valves or vents. The first game to include fans in the audience will take place on January 24, 2021.
Wednesday, January 6: In Colorado, face masks have been made mandatory at all times for high school students participating in two sports: ice hockey and basketball. According to a variance issued by the state health department to the Colorado High School Activities Association, masks will be required for during play and while not actively participating. For other sports, such as wrestling, spirit, and aquatics, masks are exempt during competitions but must be worn at when not actively participating.
Tuesday, January 5: While Mississippi has not issued a statewide mask mandate, the majority of its counties now require face masks. As of January 5, 2021, only four of the state’s 82 counties were not under a mask mandate: Claiborne, Issaquena, Sharkey and Tunica. In the counties with mandates, masks are required indoors in all businesses and outdoor spaces open to the public.
Monday, January 4: The Michigan Department of Human Health and Services (MDHHS) will distribute 3.5 million KN95 face masks to its population for free to help combat COVID-19 in the state. Community organizations, including health departments, MDHHS offices and Area Agency on Aging offices, will dispense the masks to the general public. The masks are being distributed as part of the state’s Mask Up, Mask Right campaign.
Friday, January 1: Palm Beach Mask has donated 100,000 disposable face masks to nonprofit groups, first responders, medical organizations and government offices. Located in southeast Florida, the company pivoted to producing locally made PPE equipment at the start of the pandemic. Through its donations, Palm Beach Mask hopes to spread both safety and goodwill in its community.
Wednesday, December 30: The Chicago Transit Authority is piloting free face mask dispensers on 20 bus routes. The first buses are already equipped with the dispensers, and the CTA plans to equip 200 buses in total over the next few weeks. If the trial is a success, the program will be extended to all 129 bus routes as well as rail stations.
Monday, December 28: A team of scientists in British Columbia, Canada have developed a biodegradable face mask to combat the rise of single-use plastics since the pandemic began. The masks are made from fibers, which can be safely recycled. Currently, the company responsible for creating the masks, BioProducts Institute, is in talks to commercialize and regulate their product so it can be used in medical settings and by the general public.
Sunday, December 27: The state of Ohio plans to mail five disposable face masks to everyone in the state age 65 or older. Named the 10 Million Mask Mailer program, the masks will be sent free of charge to the senior population, who are considered most at risk in the pandemic. The US Department of Treasury provided funding for the program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Friday, December 25: Effectively immediately, the Utah Department of Health has issued an updated mask order for schools. State Public Health Order 2020-28 more clearly defines what constitutes a proper face mask, what is school property and what exemptions are allowed in an educational facility. The updated mask order applies to all schools that provide any kindergarten through grade 12 programs or services.
Thursday, December 24: New COVID-19 rules are in effect in Kentucky for children attending daycare. Effective immediately, the new rules state that children between the ages of 3 and first grade can now wear face masks, but their parents or guardians must sign a permission form for the child. Children under the age of two do not wear masks, and children in first grade or older are required to wear masks unless exempted.
Monday, December 21: ASTM International, an organization that publishes technical standards for products, services and equipment, is developing nonregulatory specifications for face masks. These specifications will set a minimum standard for face mask design, performance, care and labeling requirements. The goal is to help consumers understand the quality of face coverings available in retail stores or online, and the ASTM hopes to have these standards approved by February 2021.
Sunday, December 20: The United States Army has isssued official face coverings for soldiers in response to the pandemic. Currently, the Army provides soldiers with disposable or resuable solid color masks. The official masks, in typical army fatigue colors, will be issued to new soldiers starting in 2021.
Friday, December 18: The Board of Health in Lewis and Clark County, Montana adopted emergency COVID rules to supplement Governor Steve Bullock’s current mandates. The emergency rules extend mandatory face covering to schools and colleges. Businesses, government facilities and locations with indoor space available to the public were already required to wear face masks.
Thursday, December 17: Easley, South Carolina passed a face mask ordinance Monday night. The ordinance goes into effect on December 26, 2020 at midnight and requires anyone in a public space who cannot socially distance to wear a mask. Exemptions include those with certain medical or mental health conditions, those who cannot wear a mask due to work requirements and children under the age of six.
Tuesday, December 15: In South Carolina, the Spartanburg City Council and the Greenville City Council both voted to extend the face mask ordinance in their corresponding cities. The extensions are effective as of December 15 and require individuals to wear masks inside public buildings. The ordinances also require employees of pharmacies, grocery stores, barbershops, retail outlets, salons, and more to wear masks when interacting with the public.
Sunday, December 13: Law enforcement in Springfield, Missouri have begun issuing fines for violating the city’s mask mandate. Previously, law enforcement took an educational approach by handing out fliers to those not wearing masks in public. However, because of rising cases in the city, the city’s leadership has encouraged police to issue citations instead.
Sunday, December 13: Lancaster, California passed an ordinance that now makes violating the county’s mask mandate a misdemeanor. The ordinance is effective immediately and failure to comply can result in a fine of no more than $1,000, up to six months in jail time or both, according to the ordinance.
Saturday, December 12: The city council of Nevada City, California unanimously approved mandatory face covering to combat the spread of COVID-19. The ordinance takes affect immediately and fines range up to $200 for individuals. Businesses caught not enforcing the ordinance could face fines, suspension of permits or licenses, and/or criminal prosecution.
Friday, December 11: Arizona’s Pima County recently approved six new measures to slow virus spread, including a stricter mask regulation that includes penalties for failing to comply. It also requires businesses to enforce mask wearing for shoppers. The new regulations are currently in effect.
Thursday, December 10: Wyoming governor Mark Gordon issued a statewide mask mandate in an effort to curb rising cases in the state. The order includes wearing face masks outside of the home when entering or waiting to enter businesses, government facilities, healthcare settings and more.
Monday, December 7: In a recent interview, President-Elect Joe Biden suggested he plans to implement a 100-day nationwide mask order on taking office to help the US reduce record-breaking increases in infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths.
Tuesday, December 1: With the state in the grips of COVID infections, South Dakota’s Rapid City approved a mask ordinance that allows for businesses and houses of worship accommodating 50 people or more to opt out. Places that opt out must put up signage notifying the public that masks are optional.
Wednesday, November 25: New research from the American Institute of Physics and reported by SciTechDaily suggests that even 70% public face mask compliance could put an end to the spread of COVID-19. While the research focuses on surgical mask use in medical settings, API concludes that even cloth masks could slow virus spread with consistent use.
Wednesday, November 25: Spiking infection rates in North Carolina has led Governor Roy Cooper to enforce mask requirements that include consistent use at gyms. Effective today, gymgoers must wear a face covering while using treadmills, rowers and other gym equipment.
Monday, November 23: Natrona Valley became one of 15 counties in Wyoming to require face masks in public as of last Wednesday. Law enforcement says it will make education and compliance priorities over citations, despite considering violations a criminal offense.
Monday, November 23: With COVID-19 infection rates surging in Idaho, the city of Boise is enacting a face mask mandate effective today. The city is also taking the step of closing government and entertainment facilities through at least January 2021.
Wednesday, November 18: In response to a recent surge in Covid-19 cases, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has today enacted a “three-week pause” in an effort to slow the spread. Among the many activities the pause places restrictions on are in-person learning, indoor dining, group fitness classes and attending organized sporting events.
Tuesday, September 8: The University of Washington’s School of Medicine estimates the US public could reduce deaths due to COVID-19 by 30% simply by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Modeling three scenarios — worst case, best case and unchanged practices — the Institute predicts some 770,000 lives worldwide could be saved by New Year’s Day with rapid action.
Tuesday, August 25: The Economist, along with calculations from Goldman Sachs, has concluded that the economic value of a face mask is $56.14. According to the publication, an American wearing a mask for one day is helping prevent a fall in the GDP by that very amount.
Monday, August 17: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has reversed his previous order banning the state’s municipalities from issuing individual mask mandates. The “Local Option Face Covering Requirements” are meant to empower cities and counties to issue their own restrictions.
Monday, August 10: In addition to requiring all crew and passengers to wear face masks while onboard, United, Delta and Alaska Airlines have created a no-fly list for customers who don’t comply. Passengers who refuse to wear face coverings will be added to a list that effectively bans them from flying with the airline in the future.
Monday, August 10: Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are the latest nationwide retailers to require all employees, customers and vendors to wear face masks while inside its stores. Dollar Tree will also add an employee health screening program and Plexiglas guards at cash registers.
Friday, August 7: The World Health Organization, CDC, Google, Facebook and over 40 other partner organizations have joined forces to launch World Mask Week. The initiative — taking place August 7 through 14 — aims to encourage wearing masks in public on a global scale to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Monday, August 3: Wisconsin is the latest state to issue a statewide face mask mandate. Governor Tony Evers’ ordinance states that masks must be worn in all public enclosed spaces and at outdoor bars and restaurants when not eating or drinking. The order is in effect until September 28.
Tuesday, July 28: McDonald’s is among the latest batch of business giants to require the use of face masks when entering its restaurants nationwide. It joins Target and all Gap brand stores — such as Banana Republic and Old Navy — in launching the ordinance on August 1.
Friday, July 24: Vermont Governor Phil Scott has issued a statewide face mask mandate effective August 1. The order requires those ages 2 and up to wear face coverings in public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. Scott had previously resisted enacting such a mandate, but opted for a more forceful approach due to rising coronavirus rates across the Green Mountain State.
Thursday, July 23: In defiance of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s executive order banning individual counties from issuing face mask mandates, some municipalities are issuing them anyway. Joining that list is Dekalb County, which now requires its citizens ages 8 and up to wear face coverings while in any public space. The ordinance goes into effect July 25.
Friday, July 17: Target, CVS and Walgreens are the latest retail giants to require shoppers to wear face masks while inside stores. CVS and Walgreens will start the requirement on July 20, with Target not far behind on August 1.
Thursday, July 16: Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp has placed an unprecedented statewide ban on allowing cities and counties to require the use of face masks. The order effectively voids at least 15 municipalities’ previous mask mandates. The governor is instead encouraging residents to voluntarily wear masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Wednesday, July 15: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has issued a statewide face mask ordinance that will be in effect from July 16 at 5 p.m. through at least July 31. The mandate states that face masks must be worn in all public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.
Wednesday, July 15: Walmart and Sam’s Club will soon join the growing list of retail giants requiring the use of masks or face coverings while shopping. The retailers’ mandates will take effect July 20, joining other big box stores like Costco, Apple and Best Buy.
Tuesday, July 14: Due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases, Louisiana is now under a statewide face mask ordinance. Residents ages eight and above must now wear masks in any public space, and bars are closed to on-premises consumption.
Tuesday, July 14: West Lafayette, Indiana governor John Dennis has signed an executive order requiring the use of face masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces. The order expands upon the city’s previous mandate that applied to businesses. Fines for noncompliance will range from $100 to $250.
Friday, July 10: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has tightened the reigns of the state’s existing face mask policy. In addition to allowing restaurants to refuse entry to those not wearing masks, the revised order also requires face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces.
Thursday, July 9: Many large retail stores require customers and employees to wear face masks, but who enforces the orders continues to be a grey area — see a list of retail giants and their policies.
Thursday, July 9: Due to a sharp increase in recent coronavirus cases, a “red alert” has been issued for seven Ohio counties. The governor’s office is now requiring that people wear masks in public spaces in Cuyahoga, Butler, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery and Trumbull counties.
Thursday, July 9: Dane County, Wisconsin — which includes Madison — has issued the state’s first face mask mandate in response to a recent spike in coronavirus cases in the area. Starting Monday, July 13, masks will be required inside of all public spaces for people age five and up.
Wednesday, July 1: As coronavirus cases continue to surge across South Carolina, multiple cities and counties have implemented face mask ordinances, including Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton County, Folly Beach, Hilton Head, Kiawah Island, Mount Pleasant and Summerville. These are the first mandates issued for South Carolina since the pandemic began.
Wednesday, July 1: It is now a requirement to wear face masks while indoors in Jacksonville, Florida. The mandate, imposed Monday, will likely not sit well with the Trump campaign, which recently moved the site of the Republican National Convention from Charlotte to Jacksonville in an apparent effort to avoid face mask ordinances.
Tuesday, June 30: Kansas governor Laura Kelly has announced an executive order requiring the use of face masks while in public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. The mandate will go into effect Friday, July 3 and will be enforced by local officials.
Friday, June 26:
Not waiting for a statewide ordinance, the city of College Station, Texas, passed an order requiring the wearing of face masks in all businesses. The order applies to people ages 10 and older, and businesses that violate the order face fines of up to $1,000. The requirement goes into effect at 6 a.m. on Monday, June 29.
Thursday, June 25:
As the state faces a sharp two-week increase in COVID-19 cases, and Governor Ron DeSantis resists the call for statewide guidance, local governments in Florida’s Tampa Bay are enacting a series of ordinances requiring face coverings in public settings. Residents of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are required to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, while Pasco County limits face covering requirements to businesses, government offices and schools. The city of Tampa enacted its own ordinance requiring face masks when indoors and outside the home at all times. Many of the ordinances come with fines and citations for failing to follow the guidelines. Tampa Bay joins counties Broward, Orange and Miami-Dade in attempting to curb the rapid spread of the virus.
Wednesday, June 24:
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order requiring the public to wear face coverings while in 10 settings that include retail, restaurants, manufacturing and public transportation. The order does not come with law enforcement or fines for failing to adhere to public safety guidelines intended to curb the rapid rise statewide in COVID-19 cases. The ordinance goes into effect Friday, June 26th.
Wednesday, June 24:
As Florida becomes the nation’s new epicenter for COVID-19 cases, Palm Beach County has enacted for all cities and incorporated areas in the county an ordinance requiring face coverings in stores, restaurants, hotels, gyms and public buildings where social distancing isn’t possible. Violators face fines of $250 to $500, with fines extended to businesses that refuse to post signs requiring masks.
Tuesday, June 23:
In response to reports of increasing COVID-19 cases statewide, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman issued a joint mandatory face covering order when in public, including outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible. The ordinance goes into effect Friday, June 26th, and does not specify an end date.
Tuesday, June 23:
As the state’s number of coronavirus cases reach record levels, Texas Governor Greg Abbott urges citizens to to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing and avoid leaving the home except for necessary errands. While there doesn’t appear to be repercussions for failing to observe the new guidelines, Abbott is responding to a surge in COVID-19 by scaling back reopening plans and setting restrictions on outdoor gatherings, among other health and safety measures.
Monday, June 22: Tucson, Arizona, as well as all of Maricopa County, Arizona — which includes Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa — have issued ordinances requiring the use of face coverings in all public spaces. The mandate expands upon the current statewide suggestion to wear masks when in public.
Monday, June 22:
Florida’s Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, now requires the use of face coverings while in public indoor spaces. The Florida Keys ordinance is expected to be in effect until June 2021.
Friday, June 19:
As COVID-19 cases inch toward 15,000 statewide, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued new guidelines on the wearing of face coverings both in- and outdoors whenever among people outside your household and in circumstances when social distancing isn’t possible effective immediately.
Thursday, June 18: In response to increasing numbers of Californians at work and in the public amid the relaxing of quarantine measures, and a possible spike in COVID-19 cases, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a statewide order requiring face coverings in public spaces, healthcare settings, transportation and other designated high-risk situations, with limited exemptions.
Monday, June 8: The World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends that all people wear masks in any public space where social distancing isn’t possible. The guidance follows earlier WHO announcements suggesting a lack of evidence that healthy people should wear masks.
Friday, June 5: Denver Governor Jared Polis has announced an ordinance allowing businesses to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask. The executive order punctuates Colorado’s existing face mask requirements.
Wednesday, May 27: Beginning Friday, all Virginians will be required to wear face masks while inside any public space and wherever large groups can congregate. The mandate extends to children age 10 and over, but exceptions will be made for those eating and drinking at restaurants, exercising or with health conditions.
Wednesday, May 20: As President Trump prepares to tour a Ford Motor Co. factory Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has stated that Trump has a legal obligation to wear a face mask. Nessel cited the state’s face mask law and urged the president to respect the efforts of Ford employees. Trump has yet to wear a mask despite federal recommendations and mandates.
Thursday, May 14: The latest California city to pass a new face mask ordinance is Arvin. Officials now require employees of local businesses as well as city employees to wear masks while at work.
Thursday, May 14: The state of New Mexico now requires the use of face masks by all people in all public spaces. The new ordinance expands upon previous measures that included employees of essential businesses.
Wednesday, May 13: Philadelphia, Mississippi becomes the first city in the state to require the wearing of face masks. The ordinance mandates their use inside of any city building.
Wednesday, May 13: Palo Alto joins the growing list of California cities requiring residents to wear face masks while inside of businesses and on public transportation. The law does not apply to those exercising in outdoor spaces.
Tuesday, May 12: Seattle and the rest of King County join the growing list of regions requiring the use of face masks. King County’s ordinance requires residents to wear face coverings while on public transit and inside of businesses. The mandate extends to outdoor areas where social distancing isn’t possible.
Tuesday, May 12: As Nashville gradually begins to reopen businesses throughout the city, a new ordinance requires all public-facing workers to wear face masks. Outside of the requirement, health officials are also encouraging the general public to wear face coverings.
Monday, May 11: Singapore Airlines and Silkair join a growing list of international airlines now requiring the use of face masks while on board. Additionally, passengers flying to Singapore must undergo temperature checks and a verbal health declaration before boarding.
Monday, May 11: The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) will begin requiring all travelers and airport employees to wear face masks beginning May 18. The move is in lockstep with similar restrictions enforced at other major airports throughout the country.
Monday, May 11: Los Angeles has stepped up its mask ordinance, now requiring the use of face coverings at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The new requirement also extends to travelers on busses and trains within the city.
Friday, May 8: Piggybacking off an existing mask order for employees of essential businesses and restaurants or retail spaces of 50,000-square-feet or more, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham will extend the order to employees of all essential businesses acting as retail on May 11.
Friday, May 8: In response to shrinking profits and general public concern about the spread of COVID-19, rideshare company Lyft has made face masks mandatory for both drivers and passengers.
Thursday, May 7: In an effort to move Sacramento’s mask ordinance from voluntary to mandatory, the city’s mayor is urging county health officials to take action. The issue will be addressed directly during May 12 meetings and beyond.
Thursday, May 7: Fresno, California, mayor Lee Brand has issued a shelter-in-place order tthat will remain in effect through May 31. The order also requires the wearing of face masks at all essential businesses and public places.
Wednesday, May 6: As business and restaurant restrictions in Alachua County, Florida, begin to loosen, all residents age 2 and up are now required to wear face masks in places where social distancing isn’t possible. Any violation of the policy will be considered a second-degree misdemeanor.
Wednesday, May 6: Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is set to sign an order requiring face masks for all residents in public. The order extends a previous face mask requirement for essential workers. The order is expected to go into effect on Friday, May 8.
Monday, May 4: Outside of the US, a growing number of countries are enforcing their own face mask ordinances. Aljazeera has the breakdown.
Monday, May 4: Following over a dozen standalone restrictions in counties throughout the state, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker announced Monday a statewide mask ordinance. Effective May 6, all people over the age of two must wear face masks or coverings in public spaces when social distancing isn’t an option.
Friday, May 1: San Diego County joins the majority of Southern California in requiring face coverings in public. The order applies to those ages 3 or older in public transportation, businesses and anywhere you’re unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between people. Violators risk getting turned away with the possibility of fines.
Friday, May 1: A growing number of US airlines are following JetBlue’s lead by requiring passengers and flight crew to wear face masks from the time of check in through deplaning. Joining JetBlue in the initiative are American, United, Delta, Frontier and Alaska.
Thursday, April 30: Officials in Salt Lake County announced Wednesday that face masks will be required for employees of most businesses as the county prepares to reopen on May 1. Some businesses specializing in “personal services” such as hair salons and tattoo shops will require both customers and employees to wear face masks.
Thursday, April 30: Beginning May 4, retail giant Costco will require all patrons over the age of two to wear face masks or face coverings while shopping. The move follows similar ordinances from Walmart, Publix, Kroger and other retailers.
Thursday, April 30: Maine governor Janet Mills has issued a statewide ordinance requiring the use of face masks in all public spaces and while using public transportation or rideshares. The restrictions will be in effect from May 1 through May 31.
Wednesday, April 29: Washington, DC governor Muriel Bowser today extended the District’s state of emergency and public health emergency through May 15. The ordinance requires face mask usage in most public spaces and extends various safety measures to vulnerable populations in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
Wednesday, April 29: Birmingham becomes the first city in Alabama to require face coverings in public places or face penalties that include fines of up to $500 and 30 days in municipal jail. The requirement goes into effect May 1st.
Wednesday, April 29: Monterey joins the growing list of California counties requiring the public to wear face coverings when in public. The measure extends to essential businesses, including healthcare services and public transportation, effective Thursday, April 30th.
Wednesday, April 29: Beginning May 4, JetBlue will require all passengers and flight attendants to wear masks while checking in, boarding, mid-flight and deplaning. JetBlue is the first U.S. airline to enforce the measure.
Tuesday, April 28: The cities of Cambridge and Peabody in Massachusetts join Somerville in imposing fines of $300 to $1,000 for violating the cities’ orders to wear a face covering when in public.
Tuesday, April 28: Maine’s Portland City Council voted to extend the city’s stay-at-home order and newly require public-facing employees to wear face coverings or masks, effective Thursday, April 30. The city joins Brunswick in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Tuesday, April 28: Kentucky governor Andy Beshear announced Monday that state residents have two weeks to start wearing masks while inside of a business. The ordinance will take effect on May 11 and extends to both patrons and employees as the state ramps up efforts to reopen.
Tuesday, April 28: The Aspen City Council has passed a resolution making it mandatory to wear a face covering while in Aspen city limits. The ordinance begins April 20 and will be in effect until at least May 27.
Monday, April 27: The mayor of Somerville, a city northwest of Boston, announced on Monday an order requiring face masks when in public spaces, including shared entrances at apartment complexes, on sidewalks, at grocery stores and when exercising outdoors. Violators face a $300 fine.
Monday, April 27: As the state gears up to reopen manufacturing, distribution, construction and general offices on May 4, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is requiring face masks for all employees and customers. Consumer and retail businesses are expected to reopen May 12.
Monday, April 27: Delaware governor John Carney has issued the 13th modification of the declaration of a State of Emergency. Effective April 28, the order requires all people over the age of 12 to wear masks in public places throughout the state.
Friday, April 24: Michigan’s stay-at-home order has been extended to May 15 and now mandates all residents of the state to wear face coverings over the mouth and nose when in public. The order goes into effect starting April 26 at 11:59 p.m. and stops short of criminal penalties for violators.
Friday, April 24: Illinois Governor JB Pritzker extended disparate city ordinances into a statewide order requiring face masks or coverings for people over the age of 2 when in public and unable to maintain 6-foot social distancing, including indoor spaces like stores. The order goes into effect on Friday, May 1, and is expected to last through the end of May.
Friday, April 24: In a series of cascading city ordinances in California, Santa Cruz County has issued an order requiring face coverings for people over the age of 2 when conducting business in public, including indoors, in line or at a drive-up window and on public transportation. People who don’t follow the order risk a misdemeanor charge and a fine. The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Friday, April 24: El Paso County officials have issued an emergency order requiring face coverings for people over the age of 2 when outside their homes or residences. Exceptions include those who have trouble breathing, are exercising outdoors or within 6 feet of people in their household. The order is in effect as of Friday at 12:01 a.m. and further restricts gatherings, access to nursing homes and assisted living facilities and use of hike and bike trails.
Thursday, April 23: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced on Wednesday an order requiring face coverings for people over the age of 10 when out in public or among people they don’t live with. Anybody caught without a covering over the nose and mouth risks a fine of up to $1,000. The ordinance takes effect on Monday, April 27, for an expected 30 days.
Wednesday, April 22: Six counties in the Bay Area that make up about five million people – Sonoma, San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin – have announced orders to require mask-wearing starting Wednesday.
Tuesday, April 21: Orange County joins a growing list of California counties requiring face masks or coverings for employees at retail businesses that include grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants. The mandate goes into effect on Friday, April 24.
Monday, April 20: Hawaii residents must wear a face masks when in public places, using public transportation and ordering at a drive-through. Violators could face up a $5,000 fine or up to a year in prison, according to Governor David Ige’s order.
Monday, April 20: Several Bay Area counties join neighboring counties already requiring the public to wear facial coverings or masks in public, including in essential businesses and on public transit. The ordinance is effective as of Friday, with enforcement going into effect on Wednesday, April 22, at 8 a.m.
Monday, April 20: Connecticut residents over the age of two must wear a face mask in public if they cannot maintain six feet of distance from others, effective April 20. Employees and customers of any age must also wear face masks inside essential businesses.
Saturday, April 18: Essential workers in Rhode Island must wear a cloth face mask while working, unless they are able to maintain six feet of distance from others. Businesses are to provide facial coverings to employees.
Friday, April 17: Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order requiring New Yorkers to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth when in a public place. The ordinance includes anybody over the age of 2 and able to medically tolerate a mask. The order goes into effect on Friday, April 17, at 8 p.m.
Friday, April 17: Sonoma County Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Masi signed an order that states the public wear facial coverings before entering indoor facilities other than their homes, any enclosed open spaces or while outdoors and unable to maintain at least six feet of distance between people. The ordinance includes children ages 2 and older. The order goes into effect on Friday, April 17, at 12:01 a.m.
Thursday, April 16: Officials in Missouri report a recall of KN95 face masks the state paid $17 million for that don’t appear to meet Illinois Department of Health performance standards.
Wednesday, April 15: Pennsylvania state health secretary signed an order Wednesday that states all essential businesses that are open during coronavirus must turn away customers who are not wearing masks. The order establishes other safety protocols for businesses to try to continue operating safely. The order goes into effect on Sunday, April 19, at 8 p.m. Read the full text from Dr. Rachel Levine.
Wednesday, April 14: Governor Gina Raimondo signed emergency declaration requiring face masks in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Employers must also provide employees with face masks or the materials to make one.
Wednesday, April 8: New Jersey became the first state to order that all customers and employees wear a face mask while inside essential businesses, on construction sites and using public transportation. Businesses are to turn away customers who do not comply.
Thursday, April 2: Online giant Amazon has announced that it is no longer accepting public orders for N95 face masks in its effort to prioritize essential supplies, including coronavirus tests, to hospitals and government agencies. It’s also forgoing a profit from such sales.
Top stores for masks in May 2021
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How to fit your mask properly
When putting a mask, a tight seal should be created against your nose and mouth. Use the instructions provided with your mask for correct fit. You should test that a seal has been created by exhaling heavily. Air should not escape through any cracks. If a seal hasn’t been created, re-fit and test again.
Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that tight-fitting masks are up to 95% effective in controlling the spread of COVID-19. In the study, researchers discovered four ways to create a better fit for face masks:
- Wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask
- Knotting the ear loops of a surgical mask
- Using a mask fitter
- Wearing a nylon covering over a face mask
Keep in mind that the CDC does not recommend layering two surgical masks or any additional masks over an N95 mask.
How to remove your mask properly
First, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before putting on your mask. When you’re ready to take it off, do not touch the front of the mask — it could be contaminated. Instead, remove it by pulling the bottom strap over the back of your head, followed by the top strap. Discard the mask, and then wash your hands.
Should I wear a mask after I’ve been vaccinated?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new mask guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
However, the guidelines advised that even fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks in the following circumstances:
- while in indoor public settings
- when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people from multiple households
- when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
Do I need to wear two masks?
Research released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that wearing two masks, specifically a cloth mask over a surgical mask, is more than 90% effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The CDC has updated its guidelines to recommend wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask to create a tighter-fitting seal to your face.
In lieu of two masks, the CDC recommends using a mask fitter or bracer and masks with a nose wire to improve the fit of your mask. However, wearing two surgical masks or any additional mask over an N95 mask is not recommended.
Which states require face masks in public?
States and counties across the US are putting in place requirements for mandatory mask wearing in public spaces. We’re updating our table daily for changes across the United States. Search for your county and/or state below.
|State or territory||Requirements||More info|
|Federal||REQUIRED — Federal mandate requiring face coverings in compliance with CDC guidelines for federal employees and contractors and all persons inside federal buildings and on federal lands. Face masks are also required in airports, commercial aircraft, trains, public maritime vessels, including ferries, intercity bus services and other forms of public transportation as defined in section 5302 of title 49, United States Code. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) encourages public compliance with mask-wearing and other public health best practices as recommended by the CDC, such as social distancing and handwashing.||More info|
|Alabama||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face masks in public as of April 10, 2021, though masks are strongly encouraged for members of the public. Local ordinances require face coverings in some cities, counties and jurisdictions, including Birmingham and Montgomery.||More info|
|Alaska||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face masks, though recommended. Face coverings required for employees of reopening businesses statewide. Local ordinances require face coverings in Anchorage and Juneau.||More info|
|Arizona||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate for face masks in public, though recommended. Face masks required for workers in restaurants, bars, gyms, indoor theaters and other entertainment venues. Also required for patrons and employees of barbers and cosmetologists statewide. Local ordinances require face coverings in Avondale, Carefree, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Guadalupe, Litchfield Park, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise, Tempe, Tolleson, Tuscon and Maricopa County.||More info|
|Arkansas||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face masks in public as of March 31, 2021, though masks are strongly encouraged for members of the public. Local ordinances require face coverings in some cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|California||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face coverings or masks for ages 2+ in common and public spaces and outdoors when distancing isn't possible. Nonrestricted alternatives OK for those who have a medical condition. Local ordinances require face coverings in Beverly Hills, Berkeley, Calabasas, Contra Costa County, Costa Mesa, Duarte, Fremond, Glendale, Herrmosa Beach, Irvine, Manhattan Beach, Marin County, Monterey, Napa County, Salina, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Santa Monica, Sonoma County, West Hollywood and Yolo County.||More info|
|Colorado||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks for ages 10+ in indoor public spaces and some outdoor spaces.Required for employees of critical businesses and mass transportation. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Connecticut||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face coverings or masks for ages 2+ in common and public spaces and outdoors when social distancing isn't possible. Required for workers and patrons in restaurants, retail, offices and personal care services.||More info|
|Delaware||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks for ages 2+ in public and where social distancing isn't possible. Required for employees and patrons in restaurants, personal care and other public settings.||More info|
|Florida||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate for face masks in public, though recommended for those ages 2+. Face coverings required for personal care providers and employees. Local ordinances require some form of face covering mandate in public, including Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Duval, Gadsden, Hillsborough, Indian River, Leon, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Walton counties. Also required in Anna Maria, Apalachicola, Aventura, Biscayne Park, Bradenton, Boca Raton, Cocoa Beach, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Cutler Bay, Dania Beach, Davie, Daytona Beach, Deerfield Beach, DeLand, Delray Beach, Doral, Fernandina Beach, Flagler Beach, Florrida City, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers Beach, Golden Beach, Gulf Breeze, Hialeah, Hollywood, Holmes Beach, Homestead, Indian Harbour Beach, Indiatlantic, Jacksonville, Key Biscayne, Key West, Leesburg, Lakelsand, Mary Esther, Medley, Melbourne, Miami, Miami Lakes, Milton, Miramar, New Smyrna Beach, North Miami, Oakland Park, Ocala, Orange City, Palatka, Palm Coast, Palmetto Bay, Panama City Beach, Pensacola, Perry, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Punta Gorda, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Sanibal, Sarasota, Satellite Beach, Surfside, Tamarac, Tampa, West Melbourne, Wilton Manor, Winter Haven and Venice.||More info|
|Georgia||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face coverings in public, though recommended. Face coverings required for employees of bars, restaurants, personal care providers, amusement parks, carnivals, conventions and live performances. Local ordinances require face coverings in Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Clayton County, College Park, Decatur, DeKalb County, Doraville, Dunwoody, East Point, Fairburn, Rome, Sandy Springs, Savannah, Smyrna, South Fulton, Statesboro and Union City.||More info|
|Hawaii||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks in most public places and while ordering from drive-thrus. Required for customers and employees at essential or designated businesses and operations. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Idaho||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate for face masks in public, though face coverings strongly advised for residents. Local ordinances require face coverings in Ada County and in Bellevue, Boise, Driggs, Ketchum, Lewiston City, McCall and Victor.||More info|
|Illinois||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face coverings for people age 2+ in public spaces where social distancing isn't possible. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Indiana||RECOMMENDED — Statewide mandate rescinded as of April 6, 2021. Individuals age 8 and up are encouraged to wear masks in all indoor public settings and outdoors when they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Face masks are mandatory in state buildings, K-12 schools and at COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions, including Indianapolis.||More info|
|Iowa||RECOMMENDED — Statewide mandate rescinded as of February 7, 2021, though wearing masks is still encouraged. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Kansas||RECOMMENDED — Statewide mandate rescinded as of April 8, 2021, though wearing masks is still encouraged. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Kentucky||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks for those ages 5+ in all indoor and outdoor public spaces.||More info|
|Louisiana||RECOMMENDED — Statewide mandate rescinded as of April 28, 2021. Face masks are still mandatory in state buildings, K-12 schools, early education centers, colleges and universities, health care facilities and on public transit. Local ordinances require face coverings in some cities, jurisdictions and businesses.||More info|
|Maine||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring all people to wear face masks in public spaces.||More info|
|Maryland||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks for people ages 5+ in indoor and outdoor public spaces.||More info|
|Massachusetts||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring people ages 5+ to wear face masks in public.||More info|
|Michigan||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks over nose and mouth in public for those ages 4+.||More info|
|Minnesota||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks in indoor public spaces and some outdoor spaces for those ages 5+.||More info|
|Mississippi||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate for face masks in public, though face coverings strongly advised for residents. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Missouri||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate for face masks in public, though recommended. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Montana||RECOMMENDED — Statewide mandate rescinded as of February 12, 2021, though wearing masks is still encouraged. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Nebraska||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate for face coverings. However, face masks are required for barbershops, salons and other personal-care businesses. Masks are recommended for restaurants and other indoor spaces. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Nevada||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks in public for all people ages 9+.||More info|
|New Hampshire||RECOMMENDED — Statewide mandate rescinded as of April 16, 2021, though wearing masks is still encouraged. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions, including Nashua and Concord||More info|
|New Jersey||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks for people ages 2+ in all indoor and outdoor public spaces where social distancing isn't possible.||More info|
|New Mexico||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks in public, including while exercising.||More info|
|New York||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face coverings in public spaces and where social distancing isn't possible for those ages 2+.||More info|
|North Carolina||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face coverings in all public spaces.||More info|
|North Dakota||RECOMMENDED — Face coverings are strongly recommended for all individuals and businesses while in public spaces. Previous statewide mandate requiring face coverings in public spaces has expired without renewal. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Ohio||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks in all public spaces for those ages 9+.||More info|
|Oklahoma||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face masks in public, though it's recommended to follow CDC guidelines. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Oregon||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks for people ages 5+ in indoor and outdoor public spaces.||More info|
|Pennsylvania||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces for those ages 2+.||More info|
|Puerto Rico||REQUIRED — Mandate requiring face masks in public.||More info|
|Rhode Island||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks or coverings in all indoor and outdoor public spaces for those ages 2+.||More info|
|South Carolina||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate for face masks in public, though encouraged. Local ordinances require face coverings in some form in Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Orangeburg, Richland and Walterboro/Colleton counties. City ordinances in Arcadia Lakes, Beaufort, Bishopville, Camden, Cayce, Clemson, Columbia, Conway, Folly Beach, Forest Acres, Fort Mill, Greenville, Hilton Head, Irmo, Kiawah Island, Lexington, Manning, Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach, Newberry, North, Rock Hill, Spartanburg, Summerville, Sumter and West Columbia.||More info|
|South Dakota||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate for face masks in public, though recommended.||More info|
|Tennessee||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face masks in public, though encouraged for employees and members of the public. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Texas||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face masks in public as of March 10, 2021, though masks are strongly encouraged for members of the public. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions, including Austin and Travis County.||More info|
|Utah||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face masks in public as of April 10, 2021, though masks are strongly encouraged for members of the public. Masks are still required in K-12 schools and at gatherings of 50 or more people where social distancing cannot be maintained. Local ordinances require face coverings in multiple cities, counties and jurisdictions, including Salt Lake City.||More info|
|Vermont||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks for people ages 2+ while in public spaces where social distancing isn't possible.||More info|
|Virginia||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks in all public indoor and outdoor spaces for those ages 5+.||More info|
|Washington||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face coverings for people ages 2+ in all situations where social distancing isn't possible.||More info|
|Washington, DC||REQUIRED — Districtwide mandate requiring face masks for ages 2+ whenever outside the home or likely to come in contact with others. Required in businesses, offices and other public settings.||More info|
|West Virginia||REQUIRED — Statewide mandate requiring face masks for people ages 9+ in all indoor public spaces and when social distancing isn't possible.||More info|
|Wisconsin||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face masks in public as of March 31, 2021, though masks are strongly encouraged for members of the public. Local ordinances require face coverings in some cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
|Wyoming||RECOMMENDED — No statewide mandate requiring face masks in public as of March 16, 2021, though masks are strongly encouraged for members of the public. Local ordinances require face coverings in some cities, counties and jurisdictions.||More info|
Which type of mask do I need?
There’s a lot of information out there about when and where to wear a mask and what type of mask you need for various situations. Use this quick guide to help you decide which kind of face mask best fits your needs.
|Mask type||Who’s it best for?||Description||How long does it last?|
|N95, KN95 respirator masks||Healthcare workers||Blocks at least 95% of airborne particles when worn properly. Adheres to government testing regulations.||Can be reused in certain situations, but must be discarded after coming into contact with bodily fluids, infected patients and in other circumstances. Read the CDC’s full reuse guidelines.|
|Surgical face masks||People who are sick and caretakers||Protects wearers from infecting others. Usually made of 3 layers of melt-blown fabric.||Intended to be discarded after every use.|
|Cloth face masks||The general population when in a public space||Typically made from cotton fabric with elastic or tie straps. Some designs have a pocket to place a removable filter.||Can be washed and reused for weeks or even months, as long as the material maintains its integrity.|
|DIY face masks||The general population when in a public space||Can be homemade using an old T-shirt, bandana, coffee filter or other readily available materials.||Depends on the materials used. Most DIY cloth masks can be washed and reused for weeks or even months, as long as the material maintains its integrity.|
Guide to choosing a face mask
Dr. William Li, a bestselling author and president and co-founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation provided Finder with tips on selecting a face mask:
- Get a mask made of at least 2 layers of fabric to prevent respiratory droplets from being passed through from either side.
- Choose a mask that has a good fit for your face, covering your nose and mouth with as little air leak around the sides as possible. If there’s a bendable metal strip for the bridge of the nose, that can help create a better seal.
- Make sure the mask can easily stay attached. Ear loops or ties are convenient features.
“Find a mask that is comfortable,” Li says. “You need to be able to breathe reasonably comfortably while wearing it.”
“Surgical masks are now easier to find and a good option,” Li adds. “They have been effective in keeping infection rates low in hospitals.”
How to make your own face mask
If cloth or N95 masks are hard to find or out of stock online, consider sewing your own. Guides like this one from the New York Times outline the steps that can have you wearing a cloth mask in an hour or two. If you have a small swatch of fabric about the size of a napkin, shoelaces, scissors, and a needle and thread, you can make a mask without additional supplies.
Face mask charities and nonprofits in the US
Businesses giving back
With mask and personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages across the country, a number of companies and nonprofit organizations are donating supplies to healthcare workers and others in need. These are just a few companies that are involved in charitable donations across the US:
- Tom Bihn. This designer bag brand has shifted gears, offering cloth face masks for sale and donating one for every purchase to around 100 essential businesses and workers.
- Stanley Black & Decker has donated three million face masks and other PPE to healthcare workers and first responders.
- The Company Store has donated cotton sheets to Quilting for a Cause, Sewing Masks for Atlanta Hospitals, Sewers of Southwest Wisconsin and other charity organizations involved in making masks.
- Lucky Brand has donated denim and funds to Suay Sew Shop to make masks.
- Paradised. This designer clothing brand was offering non-medical face masks for free for a limited time, and has also donated hundreds of masks to healthcare workers.
- Masks by Whizley is donating 50,000 face masks to organizations in need. The company will donate 250 masks to 200 nonprofits, shelters, nonprofit organizations and frontline workers across the country. If you’re in need of masks, head to its website and fill out the donation request form.
Nonprofits in need of donations: How you can help
- Project C.U.R.E. is committing 100% of its resources toward assisting healthcare workers, first responders and government agencies involved in COVID-19 relief efforts. Project C.U.R.E. is currently in need of donations of hand sanitizer, bleach, PPE, masks, biohazard bags and other priority items. Distribution centers are located in Denver, Tempe, Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Nashville.
- GetUsPPE is on a mission to provide vital PPE and other medical supplies to healthcare and front-line workers. Whether you have a small or large amount of masks and other PPE you’d like to donate, you can make a difference.
- DirectRelief is working with public health authorities, nonprofits and businesses across the country and globally to provide PPE and medical equipment to healthcare workers. To get involved in this relief effort, head to the DirectRelief website to donate monthly, fundraise in your community or become a strategic business partner.
What’s the difference between NIOSH-approved and FDA-cleared face masks?
Differences come down to function and intended use. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tests and certifies standard respirator masks used in the workplace to prevent dust and other small airborne particles from inhalation. In contrast, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clears as medical devices both standard surgical masks and surgical N95 respirator masks intended for use by healthcare workers.
According to a NIOSH representative to whom Finder reached out, “NIOSH approves respirators in accordance with 42 Code of Federal Regulations Part 84 (42 CFR 84), not to any other standards. Only respirators that meet or exceed all of the requirements established in the 42 CFR 84 standards are acknowledged by NIOSH, and only those that have been NIOSH approved may be marketed as a NIOSH-approved respirator. If a respirator is marked only N95, that does not constitute a NIOSH approval. Currently, N95 is not trademarked. It has been used to indicate a filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) is 95% efficient; however, it should not be used in a context that misleads a user to think an FFR is NIOSH-approved that is not.”
|Approval or clearance organization||Mask type||Function|
|NIOSH-approved||Standard N95 respirator||Reduces the amount of airborne particles inhaled by the wearer.|
|FDA-cleared||Surgical masks||Reduces the amount of particles expelled by the wearer and offers protection from fluids.|
|NIOSH-approved and FDA-cleared||Surgical N95 respirators||Reduces the amount of airborne particles inhaled and expelled by the wearer, and offers protection from fluids.|
What does an NIOSH-approved mask look like?
Below is an example of what a face mask should look like according to NIOSH approval standards. To verify if a respirator is NIOSH approved, use the NIOSH Certified Equipment List or its list of NIOSH-Approved filtering facepiece respirators.
Image source: CDC.gov
What’s the difference between P2, N95 and KN95 face masks?
The difference lies in the testing requirements for each country of origin. P2 masks adhere to European testing requirements, KN95 to Chinese requirements and N95 masks follow US guidelines. All offer nearly the same level of protection, according to a study by respirator company 3M.
|Filter performance||≥ 95%||≥ 95%||≥ 95%||≥ 94%||≥ 94%||≥ 95%|
|Test agent||NaCl||NaCl and paraffin oil||NaCl||NaCl||NaCl and paraffin oil||NaCl|
|Flow rate||85 L/min||95 L/min||85 L/min||95 L/min||95 L/min||85 L/min|
|Total inward leakage (TIL)||N/A||≤ 8% leakage||≤ 8% leakage||≤ 8% leakage||≤ 8% leakage||Inward Leakage measured and included in User Instructions|
|Inhalation resistance||≤ 343 Pa||≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)|
≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min)
≤ 500 Pa (clogging)
|≤ 350 Pa||≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)|
≤ 240 Pa (at 95L/min)
|≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)|
≤ 240 Pa (at 95L/min)
|≤ 70 Pa (w/valve)|
≤ 50 Pa (no valve)
|Flow rate||85L/min||Varied – see|
|85L/min||Varied – see|
|Varied – see|
|Exhalation resistance||≤ 245 Pa||≤ 300 Pa||≤ 250 Pa||≤ 120 Pa||≤ 300 Pa||≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)|
|Exhalation valve leakage requirement||Leak rate ≤ 30mL/min||N/A||Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 20 sec||Leak rate ≤ 30mL/min||Visual inspection after 300L /min for 30 sec||Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 15sec|
|Force applied||-245 Pa||N/A||-1180 Pa||-250 Pa||N/A||-1,470 Pa|
|CO2 clearance requirement||N/A||≤ 1%||≤ 1%||≤ 1%||≤ 1%||≤ 1%|
What type of face masks do Americans prefer?
Finder published a paper in September 2020 analyzing which types of protective face masks are America’s favorite, including cloth, blue surgical, homemade, medical grade, fashionable or branded, and face shield style covers. This paper also includes a country comparison of United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Read more on this topic
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Where can you still get legit masks?
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