Facing Your Face Mask Duties – A List of Statewide Orders


NOTE: Given the reduction in activity on this topic,
THIS POST WILL NO LONGER BE UPDATED, as of November 10, 2022.


Governors and public health officials across the country implemented stringent mitigation measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19. As COVID-19 case rates fluctuate, face coverings are not uncommon as a preventative measure. Numerous jurisdictions have encouraged—or mandated—citizens to wear face coverings when out in public, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained effectively. Some directives also obligate employers to provide masks to their employees. This post identifies the jurisdictions where face coverings are recommended or required. 

Note that this list does not include face covering guidance at the local level. If you would like more information, please contact your Littler attorney for additional resources that summarize such requirements at both the state and local level.

Employers interested in related information may wish to consult our article identifying statewide reopening and mitigation protocols (also retired).


Requirement or Recommendation



Required in limited settings

Federal Workforce. Agencies should use the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels and associated guidance to determine the appropriate prevention strategies to utilize at a given time, including as it relates to mask-wearing.

CDC. Mask use recommendations are dependent on a county's COVID-19 Community Level. At Low level, individuals are recommended to wear a mask based on personal preference. At Medium level, individuals are recommended to wear a mask if they are at high risk of serious illness, are immunocompromised, or live with someone with those conditions. At High level, individuals are recommended to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Public conveyance operators. As a result of a court order, effective as of April 18, 2022, CDC’s January 29, 2021 Order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect. Therefore, CDC will not enforce the Order. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.

OSHA recommends that workers in an area of high or substantial transmission wear a face covering indoors regardless of vaccination status, and that employers provide all workers with face coverings at no cost to workers. Employers must discuss reasonable accommodations for any workers who are unable to wear or have difficulty wearing certain types of face coverings due to a disability. Employers should require any other individuals at the workplace (e.g., visitors, customers, non-employees) to wear a face covering unless they are under the age of 2 or are actively consuming food or beverages on site. Workers who are outdoors may opt not to wear face coverings unless they are at risk. All workers should be supported in continuing to wear a face covering if they choose, especially in order to safely work closely with other people.

Federal Contractors. Covered contractors must ensure that all individuals, including covered contractor employees and visitors, comply with published CDC guidance for masking and physical distancing at a covered contractor workplace. Note: as of October 19, 2022, agencies are not enforcing the masking and other mitigation guidelines with respect to covered contracts.



Individuals are recommended to wear a mask following CDC masking guidance.



Masks are recommended in public places in areas of substantial or high community transmission. 



Individuals are recommended to wear masks in accordance with CDC guidance.



Individuals are encouraged to follow the CDC guidance for mask use.


Required in limited settings

General RequirementIndividuals are strongly recommended to wear masks in public indoor settings when the local CDC community level is at High. A business may choose to require all patrons to wear masks. No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.

Masks remain required in specified high-risk settings, including but not limited to healthcare settings.

Cal/OSHA ETS. Employers must provide face coverings at no cost to employees if masks are required by CDPH. Masks will continue to be required during outbreaks. With respect to employer-provided transportation, employers must review CDPH and local health department recommendations regarding face coverings and implement face covering policies that effectively eliminate or minimize transmission in vehicles. An employee cannot be prohibited from wearing a mask unless it would create a safety hazard, and an employee must be free to wear a mask without fear of retaliation.

Permissible face coverings: surgical masks, medical procedure masks, a respirator worn voluntarily, or a tightly woven fabric or non-woven material of at least two layers that does not let light pass through when held up to a light source. Clear face coverings may be worn for specific accommodations. Face shields are not replacement for a permissible face covering.



Masks are recommended under certain circumstances, including after exposure to COVID-19. Masks may be required in some workplaces, including healthcare and congregate living settings.

Businesses may, at their discretion, continue to require individuals entering or within their locations to wear face coverings.



Masks remain required in schools if the local school board or similar local authority institutes a requirement.

Private businesses may require masks to be worn on their premises.



Masks are recommended for individuals per CDC guidance, and required in healthcare and long term care settings.

District of Columbia

Required in limited settings

The requirement to wear a mask in indoor public places has been lifted for most locations and businesses. Masks remain required in specified healthcare, education, transportation, and congregate settings. Private businesses may continue to require their employees and patrons to wear masks. A private business cannot bar its employees from wearing masks unless other legal requirements compel the removal of masks or mask use would pose a danger to employees or the public.

A face shield is not an acceptable alternative for wearing a mask.



"Businesses are advised to no longer require facial coverings for employees, as there is no proven significant clinical benefit for facial coverings among the general population." 



Individuals should follow the CDC masking guidance.



The mask mandate has expired. Masks are still strongly recommended for people over age 65, with compromised immune systems, who care for people at risk of severe illness and those unvaccinated for COVID-19.



Individuals should wear a mask in public places in accordance with CDC guidelines.  



The mask mandate has been lifted. Individuals must continue to wear masks where required under federal law regardless of vaccination status. Private businesses and municipalities may choose to implement their own masking requirements.



Masks remain required in certain healthcare and congregate settings. Otherwise, individuals are encouraged to follow the CDC guidelines for masks.



The state's public COVID-19 resources do not include information on masking.



All individuals over age 2 should wear a face covering in indoor public spaces. 



Masks are recommended following exposure, for high-risk individuals, and for everyone when the community risk level is high.



The mask mandate has been lifted. Masks remain recommended indoors in public settings, and in private settings as well, for individuals at a high risk of severe outcome, which includes older people and those with underlying health conditions.



Individuals who are close contacts of a person with COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19 should wear a face covering when around other people for 10 days. All individuals should follow CDC masking guidance.



All individuals are recommended to wear face coverings regardless of their vaccination status. Individual businesses may still enforce their own requirements.


Required in limited settings

All individuals are advised to wear masks when indoors outside of their own homes if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease.

Masks are also required regardless of vaccination status in certain settings, including while in health care facilities.



All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should continue to practice masking in high-risk congregate settings (including long-term and health care facilities, jails and correctional facilities and shelters). All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should also wear a mask during isolation and quarantine periods to stop further community spread.



Individuals should follow CDC masking guidance. Businesses and local jurisdictions retain discretion to impose mask requirements. Masks may be required in specified settings, including healthcare facilities and certain congregate facilities.



Individuals are recommended to wear a face covering while in indoor public spaces when social distancing from people of other households is not possible.



Individuals should follow CDC masking guidance.



Masks are recommended as a mitigation measure following CDC guidelines.



Residents are recommended to wear a cloth face covering in public places where they cannot stay 6 feet away from others.



The mask mandate has been lifted. High-risk individuals are encouraged to continue wearing masks. Businesses may implement mask requirements.

New Hampshire


Mask use is recommended per CDC guidance. Businesses, organizations, and event organizers are able to require employees, visitors, and customers wear face masks upon entering their facility or venue as a best practice.

New Jersey


Businesses should encourage individuals to wear a mask indoors. Businesses have the right to require stricter mask policies, but businesses are not allowed to restrict the use of face masks by their staff, customers, or visitors. 

New Mexico


Businesses should adhere to the latest CDC guidance on masking.

New York

Required in limited settings

General Requirements. Persons aged 2+ and able to medically tolerate a face-covering may be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, physical distance if the state health commissioner determines that masks must be required. Masks remain required in healthcare facilities and a few other specified settings. Businesses must provide, at their expense, face-coverings for their employees required to wear a mask or face-covering in settings where masks are required.

A business cannot deny employment or services to or discriminate against any person on the basis that such person elects to wear a face-covering that is designed to inhibit the transmission of COVID-19, but that is not designed to otherwise obscure the identity of the individual.

NY HERO Act. Additional employer requirements apply when the state health commissioner designates an airborne infectious disease as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public, pursuant to the NY HERO Act. The designation is no longer in effect (the designation expired 3/17/2022). When the designation is in effect, employees will wear appropriate face coverings in accordance with guidance from State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as applicable. Consistent with the guidance from the State Department of Health, if indoor areas do not have a mask or vaccine requirement as a condition of entry, appropriate face coverings are recommended, but not required. It is also recommended that face coverings be worn by unvaccinated individuals, including those with medical exemptions, in accordance with federal CDC guidance.

North Carolina


Individuals are recommended to wear a mask when in indoor public spaces consistent with CDC guidance. Businesses may decide to require masks.

North Dakota


Masks are recommended following CDC guidance.



Masks are recommended for all individuals in public indoor spaces. Local jurisdictions and businesses may choose to continue to require masks.



Face coverings are recommended in public spaces per CDC guidelines.


Required in limited settings

General. The general mask requirement has been lifted. The state health department recommends that people at high risk of severe disease and hospitalization, especially in communities with medium or high levels of transmission per the CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels, continue to wear masks in indoor settings. Businesses and workplaces may require that individuals wear masks. Individuals who wish to continue to wear masks to protect against COVID-19 are free to do so. Masks remain required in healthcare settings, certain congregate settings, on public transportation, and other limited settings as specified.

Oregon OSHA. An employer must provide masks, face coverings, or face shields for employees at no cost to the employees. If an employee chooses to wear their own mask, face covering, or face shield instead of those provided by the employer, the employer may allow it but is not required to do so. When an employee chooses to wear a filtering facepiece respirator to protect against COVID-19, the employer must allow that use and follow the "voluntary use" provisions of the Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134). An employer is not obligated to provide filtering facepiece respirators to employees, nor are most employers required to provide or allow any other type of respirator. When an employee chooses to wear a mask, face covering, or face shield even when it is not required, the employer must allow them to do so.

Masks remain required in workplaces designated "exceptional risk." 



Individuals are urged to follow CDC guidance for wearing a mask where required by law, rule, and regulations, including healthcare, local business and workplace guidance.

Puerto Rico

Required in limited settings

The general mask mandate has been lifted. Masks remain required in healthcare facilities, assisted living facilities for the elderly, centers that tend to individuals with intellectual disabilities, correctional facilities, public transit, childcare centers, and public and private schools when inside a closed facility. Private employers may implement the precautionary measures they deem necessary, including implementing mask mandates. Establishments may not prohibit mask use.

Rhode Island


Masks are recommended as a prevention measure against COVID-19. Businesses and venues have the ability to create their own masking and vaccination policies.

South Carolina


Individuals should follow CDC masking guidance.

South Dakota


People are encouraged to follow CDC masking guidance.



Members of the public are encouraged to wear a face covering in public places.



Masks are recommended per CDC guidance.



Mask use is encouraged based on CDC recommendations.



Masks are recommended as a preventative measure in times of higher risk of transmission. 



Employers should provide workers with face coverings or surgical masks, as appropriate. Some employers may have continuing obligations related to PPE and respiratory protection under the Virginia OSH Act.

The Commonwealth of Virginia and the Department of Labor and Industry will not allow or condone illegal discrimination based on wearing or not wearing masks, and people should not be fired or terminated for not wearing a mask, subject to federal requirements.

General Guidance. Individuals should wear a mask in accordance with CDC guidelines.


Required in limited settings

The mask requirement has transitioned to a recommendation for most individuals and settings. Masks continue to be required in some settings, including health care, long-term care and correctional facilities. Local health jurisdictions and individual businesses may still choose to require masks.

Employers that do not require employees or contractors to wear a specific type of personal protective equipment must accommodate an employee's or contractor's voluntary use of that specific type of protective device or equipment, including gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks, as the employee or contractor deems necessary. This requirement applies only when: (a) the voluntary use of these protective devices and equipment does not introduce hazards to the work environment and is consistent with Division of Occupational Safety and Health regulations; (b) the use of facial coverings does not interfere with an employer's security requirements; and (c) the voluntary use of these protective devices and equipment does not conflict with standards for that specific type of equipment established by the Department of Health or DOSH. An employer may verify that voluntary use of personal protective equipment meets all regulatory requirements for workplace health and safety.

West Virginia


Masks are recommended for individuals who have tested positive and for those at higher risk due to underlying health conditions.



Individuals should wear masks according to community transmission level per CDC guidance.



Individuals should consider wearing a mask in indoor public settings. 

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.