Facing Your Face Mask Duties – A List of Statewide Orders

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, last updated May 11, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. (Central), identifies the jurisdictions where face coverings are recommended or required. We will update this list once a week, if pertinent developments arise.

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.

Jurisdiction

Requirement or Recommendation

Specifics

Federal

Required in limited settings

Federal Workforce. In counties at a High COVID-19 Community Level, agencies should require individuals to wear masks in federal facilities, regardless of vaccination status and consistent with CDC and Task Force guidance on mask-wearing. Masks are not required in federal facilities in counties at a Medium or Low level.

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.

OSHA recommends that workplaces follow CDC guidance in that all 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. Covered contractors may provide for exceptions to mask wearing and/or physical distancing requirements consistent with CDC guidelines, for example, when an individual is alone in an office with floor to ceiling walls and a closed door, or for a limited time when eating or drinking and maintaining appropriate distancing.

NOTE concerning the CDC's transportation order: "As a result of a court order, effective immediately and 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 at this time."

Alabama

Recommendation

Individuals are recommended to wear a mask or other facial covering at all times when within six feet of a person from another household. Employers should encourage use of masks and face coverings by employees.

Alaska

Recommendation

Face coverings are recommended for all individuals age 2 and up. 

Arizona

Recommendation

Fully vaccinated individuals are recommended to wear masks in indoor public settings where transmission is substantial or high.

Arkansas

Recommendation

Individuals are encouraged to follow the CDC guidance for masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Businesses are permitted to require masks on their premises.

California

Required in limited settings

General RequirementMasks are no longer  required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses, but all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, are strongly recommended to wear masks in public indoor settings. 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 for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, 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.

Colorado

Required in limited settings

Masks continue to be required for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated individuals in certain specified settings (schools, certain healthcare and government settings).

Individuals aged 12+ who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a face covering when entering or within an indoor space where members of different households are present. Any fully vaccinated individual may go without any type of face covering in any setting. Medical grade face coverings are required for unvaccinated individuals in certain higher risk settings.

Employers must implement the face covering guidance set forth above.

Owners, operators, and managers of any business or service may, at their discretion, continue to require individuals entering or within their locations to wear face coverings or show proof of full vaccination.

Connecticut

Required in limited settings

Masks are no longer required in hospitals, long term care facilities, and other healthcare settings, but remain required in schools if the local school board or similar local authority institutes a requirement.

Businesses and organizations may require the universal use of masks or face coverings or require staff to wear masks in settings under their ownership or control.

Delaware

Required in limited settings

Masks are recommended for individuals per CDC guidance, and remain required in specified settings (transportation, healthcare, etc.).

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.

Florida

N/A

Florida health guidance issued 2/24/22 "does not rely on wearing facial coverings in a community setting." The recommendations state that "[b]usinesses are advised to no longer require facial coverings for employees."

Georgia

Recommendation

Individuals should follow the CDC masking guidance.

NOTE: At least one locality in Georgia may have provisions concerning face masks. Please consult with your Littler attorney for further details.

Hawaii

Recommendation

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.

Idaho

Recommendation

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

Illinois

Required in limited settings

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.

Indiana

Recommendation

Masks remain required in schools, certain health care sites, and certain government sites. Otherwise, individuals are encouraged to follow the CDC guidelines for masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Iowa

Recommendation

Individuals are recommended to follow CDC guidance for use of face coverings.

Kansas

Recommendation

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

Kentucky

Required in limited settings

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

Masks continue to be required in certain limited settings (on public transportation, in healthcare settings, and others as specified).

Louisiana

Recommendation

The mask mandate has been lifted. Masks remain recommended indoors in any place outside of a private residence.

Local governments and private businesses retain the authority to impose stricter measures.

Maine

Recommendation

The mask mandate was rescinded. Businesses may choose to require masks and to request proof of vaccination. Masks are recommended for all individuals in areas of high or substantial transmission.

Maryland

Recommendation

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

Massachusetts

Required in limited settings

All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, are strongly encouraged to wear masks when indoors outside of their own homes. Fully vaccinated individuals who are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease should wear a mask indoors.

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

Michigan

Recommendation

The mask advisory has been rescinded. During the post-surge recovery phase, 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.

Minnesota

Recommendation

Per CDC guidance, fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly recommended to continue wearing masks indoors. Businesses and local jurisdictions retain discretion to impose mask requirements.

Mississippi

Recommendation

Individuals are recommended to wear a face covering while in indoor public spaces when social distancing from people of other households is not possible. Employers should encourage unvaccinated workers to wear a mask at work.

Missouri

Recommendation

People should wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Montana

Recommendation

Masks are recommended as a mitigation measure following CDC guidelines.

Nebraska

Recommendation

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

Nevada

Recommendation

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

New Hampshire

N/A

The state has removed the recommendation that masks be worn indoors.

New Jersey

Required in limited settings

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. Masks are still required in high-risk areas such as healthcare settings, public transportation, child care centers, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.

New Mexico

Recommendation

The mask requirement has been lifted, though masks remain required in certain healthcare and congregate settings. Businesses may impose more stringent requirements.

New York

Required in limited settings

General Requirements. The mask-or-vaccine requirement for indoor businesses has been lifted. Businesses may choose to continue to enforce the requirement. Masks remain required in schools, healthcare facilities, and a few other specified settings.

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

Recommendation

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

North Dakota

Recommendation

Masks are recommended following CDC guidance.

Ohio

Recommendation

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

Oklahoma

Recommendation

Face coverings are recommended in public spaces per CDC guidelines.

Oregon

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.

Pennsylvania

Recommendation

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

NOTE: At least one locality in Pennsylvania may have provisions concerning face masks. Please consult with your Littler attorney for further details.

Puerto Rico

Required in limited settings

As discussed in this Littler article, 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

Recommendation

The mask mandate has been lifted. Businesses and venues have the ability to create their own masking and vaccination policies.

South Carolina

Recommendation

Individuals should follow CDC masking guidance.

Employees should be strongly encouraged to wear masks or cloth face coverings when indoors to help reduce spread of virus.

South Dakota

Recommendation

People are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Tennessee

Recommendation

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

Texas

Recommendation

Masks continue to be recommended per CDC guidance.

Utah

Recommendation

Mask use is encouraged for everyone. Private businesses are permitted to require masks on their premises.

Vermont

Recommendation

Masks should be worn in public indoor settings. 

Virginia

Recommendation

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.

Washington

Required in limited settings

The mask requirement has transitioned to a mask recommendation for most individuals and settings. Masks continue to be required in some settings, including health care, long-term care and correctional facilities. Per federal requirements, masks also continue to be required on public transportation and in transportation hubs. 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

Recommendation

Face coverings must still be worn where required by federal law. Additionally, any private business or school system can still require individuals to wear a face covering.

Wisconsin

Recommendation

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

Wyoming

Recommendation

Mask use is encouraged according to CDC guidelines. 

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.