Federal health officials advise wearing a homemade face mask while in public in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. But in some states, a face covering of some kind is no longer an option, it’s a requirement — if you’re going out in public, at least.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April changed its guidelines to urge citizens to do their part in stopping the spread, which includes protecting your face with some type of cloth covering when you step out of the safety of your home.
The CDC said at the time that it changed its recommendations “in light of new evidence” that shows “a significant portion” of those with the novel virus is either asymptomatic — meaning they lack symptoms altogether — or presymptomatic, meaning they can spread the virus to others without first showing signs of it themselves.
“This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms,” the CDC stated in its updated guidelines.
A face covering can be made from a few simple items likely found around your home, no sewing required. You can find an easy how-to here.
Read on for a look at what states have issued executive orders mandating that face masks be worn while in public.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom in June issued a statewide order that requires residents to wear a face covering while in public, especially in public indoor spaces, while shopping, or using public transportation.
Certain people are exempt from the rule, namely children under 2 and people eating or drinking in restaurants -- so long as they can maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from others who do not live in their household. Those with disabilities or mental health conditions are also exempt.
It's not currently clear how the mandate is being enforced.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order mandating some type of face mask for everyone over the age of 2, effective beginning April 20.
“Any person in a public place in Connecticut who is unable to or does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering,” the order reads.
The coverings are also required when using public transportation or when riding in a taxi, Uber, or another ride-sharing service.
Additionally, essential employees – those who cannot work from home – are also required to wear a face mask or face covering.
Delaware Gov. John Carney in April mandated face coverings for all residents while in public settings, including in grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and on public transportation.
"Governor Carney’s order does not require children aged 12 or younger to wear a face covering. Any child 2 years old or younger MUST NOT wear a face covering, due to the risk of suffocation," per a news release from the governor's office.
District of Columbia
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser in May also mandated the use of a face mask or covering while in public, especially when social distancing measures cannot be adhered to. Though children under the age of 9 are exempt, "parents are strongly encouraged to have their children between 2 and 9 years old wear a face mask in ordinance with CDC guidelines," the order reads.
Beginning April 20, Hawaii residents must wear a face covering “while waiting to enter and while at an essential business or operation,” according to the order from Gov. David Ige.
“All employees of essential businesses or operations who have any contact with customers or goods to be purchased shall wear the cloth face-covering recommended by the CDC while at their place of employment,” the order states.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has mandated that all Illinois residents must wear a face mask "when in a public place where they can’t maintain a six-foot social distance," according to NBC 5 Chicago. "Face coverings will be required in public indoor spaces, such as stores. This new requirement applies to all individuals over the age of two who are able to medically tolerate a face covering or a mask."
The mandate took effect on May 1.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order mandating that all Kansans wear a face covering while in public beginning on July 3.
"Until a vaccine is widely manufactured and distributed, our only defense against COVID-19 is social distancing, maintaining proper hygiene, staying home when you're sick and wearing a mask," Kelly said during an announcement at the Kansas State Capitol, per the Kansas City Business Journal.
In May, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive order mandating all state residents to wear face masks or coverings while in public.
In late April, Maine Gov. Janet Mills issued an executive order required at Maine residents over the age of 2 to wear a face mask or covering while in public, especially in indoor spaces like grocery stores and outdoor spaces such as playgrounds. A face mask or covering is also required while using public transportation in the state.
In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order that mandates citizens to wear a face covering while using public transportation in the state. Residents over the age of 9 are also required to wear a mask or covering when shopping in essential “retail or food service” establishments. The same applies to staff members at essential businesses.
Additionally, adults “shall use reasonable efforts” to have any children between the ages of 2 and 9 who accompany them during outings to use face masks or coverings, as per the order.
As of May 6, all Massachusetts residents over the age of 2 are required to wear a face mask or covering while in public, especially in spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained, according to the state's Gov. Charlie Baker's executive order.
Michigan residents must wear a face covering while shopping, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive order.
“Any individual who enters a food-selling establishment or pharmacy who is able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief,” the order, which was issued on June 17, reads.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on June 24 issued a mandatory face covering policy for all Nevada residents.
"Per this requirement, anyone in any public space throughout the State, including visitors, will need to wear a mask. This includes using public transportation, public-facing work environments, when patronizing businesses, or interacting with others in any generally publicly accessible space," state officials said in a press release when announcing the policy.
Similar to other states, New Jersey also requires its residents to wear a face covering while in public.
In an executive order that took effect April 8, Gov. Phil Murphy said employees and customers at essential businesses must wear them, as must anyone working for or using New Jersey public transportation.
All New Mexico residents are required to use a face mask or coverings "in all public settings unless instructed otherwise by a health care provider," per officials.
Effective April 17, New Yorkers over the age of 2 and “medically able to tolerate a face covering” are required to do so, especially when social distancing is not or cannot be maintained, as per the executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The mandate covers seven counties, representing more than 55 percent of the state's population.
"I will be instituting a requirement to wear face coverings while in indoor public spaces, such as grocery stores and other businesses, for the following counties: Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Polk and Lincoln," Brown said.
Effective April 19, employees at essential businesses are required to wear face coverings while on the job. Employers must provide employees with a mask, according to the state’s Department of Health.
Customers are also required to wear them and can be denied entry to the business "unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies or food, in which case the business must provide alternative methods of pick-up or delivery of such goods," Gov. Tom Wolf's office said.
Effective April 18, employees at essential businesses must wear a face mask or covering, according to Gov. Gina Raimondo's executive order.
Unless an employee "can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other employees for the duration of his or her work," all employees at essential businesses “must wear face coverings in any entry, exit and common areas of the business, including, but not limited to: check-in, registration, reception, hallways, bathrooms, breakrooms, time clock areas, elevators, stairways, etc,” the order reads.
Employers must provide their employees either face masks or the appropriate materials to make one, as per the order.
The legal requirement includes any indoor public space, as well as outdoor areas when social distancing measures can't be maintained. The order encompasses the entire state of Washington.
“As necessary economic activity increases and more people are out in their communities, it is imperative that we adopt further measures to protect all of us,” Inslee told reporters Tuesday. “Until a vaccine or cure is developed, this is going to be one of our best defenses.”
This file will be updated if more states mandate face coverings.
Fox News's David Aaro contributed to this report.