Travel within the United States is made more difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some choose to avoid traveling out of state altogether, others may be required to do so because of work, school, family issues, or military duty.
Travel to some parts of the United States is complicated because not all states have adopted the same anti-epidemic measures. Some have more strict requirements, others may have no requirements at all in terms of the wearing of masks, social distancing, etc. If you are planning to travel within the United States, it’s best to know in advance what mask mandates or other measures may apply.
In most cases when you research a state’s requirements for masks, you will find associated COVID-19 guidance on that state’s current approach to the coronavirus. What follows is a listing of COVID-19 mask mandates by state and the information is current at press time but you should contact the state public health authority in the states where you must travel to get the most current guidelines.
The Alabama Governor, Kay Ivey, ordered a statewide mask mandate in 2020 for all indoor public spaces and on transportation. That order expired in April 2021, and at press time mask use is up to “personal responsibility” rather than an official requirement.
Alaska does not have a state-mandated mask requirement.
No government-enforced mask mandate is currently in effect in American Samoa at press time.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has, in spite of contradictory guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, overridden all local mask mandates.
Arkansas introduced a mask requirement in 2020, but Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson ended the requirement in March 2021 and signed laws banning mask requirements at the local level.
Most of the State of California adheres to CDC mask wearing guidelines where mandates are concerned, but at press time in Los Angeles County, a indoor mask requirement was installed for all citizens in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status.
Colorado featured a mask requirement in 2020, but in 2021, the statewide mandate was ended and masking in the state has been “suggested” rather than required by law.
In 2020, Connecticut featured an indoor mask requirement which later included fines for non-compliance. In May 2021, the mask rules were modified to include a requirement for the unvaccinated to wear masks indoors and a mask exemption for those who are fully vaccinated.
A statewide mask requirement went into effect in 2020, but in May 2021 the requirement was changed to “encouragement” to follow CDC guidelines for gathering in public spaces.
District of Columbia
The District of Columbia has, at press time, a “universal mask mandate” for all indoors regardless of vaccination status as of July 31, 2021.
This is a state where the COVID-19 public health emergency has been politicized at the highest levels. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued orders banning mask mandates and has threatened to financially penalize those who proceed with locally mandated mask requirements. There is no state-required mask rule in Florida at press time.
While there is no statewide mask requirement in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp has allowed individual counties to require masks if a certain threshold of cases is reached. Some cities in Georgia have local mask rules that may not apply in other parts of the state.
There is a Guam-wide mask requirement that includes fines or other punishment for non-compliance.
Hawaii had a state-wide mask requirement for all five years or older except for those with qualifying medical conditions. This applied to both indoor and outdoor gatherings, but in May 2021, the outdoor mask requirement was lifted though the indoor mandate still applies to all.
While no statewide rule is in effect, Idaho has multiple counties that require masking at the local level.
Illinois had a mask requirement which at first applied to all, then applied to unvaccinated people in public spaces, but the statewide mask requirement has been modified due to rising COVID-19 cases. At press time masks are generally required in indoor public spaces and in schools.
A previous mask mandate from 2020 was permitted to expire and become a mask “advisory”, though they are still required in schools, government facilities, and at vaccination sites.
In 2021, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds lifted a previous mandate, and then signed a law banning mask mandates and forbidding local mask requirements.
The State of Kansas has no mask mandate in place. A state mandate by executive order was attempted, but ultimately overruled by legislators.
The State of Kentucky had a mask requirement until it was lifted in June 2021 but in August the Governor announced a mask requirement for schools, regardless of vaccination status.
The State of Louisiana requires masks for all in public places indoors.
The State of Maine had a mask requirement in 2020, which was modified over time until finally lifted in May 2021 in most cases. At press time there is no state mask requirement except for schools and child care.
Maryland’s mask mandate ended in May 2021.
No State Mandate. The Massachusetts mask requirement issued by the state ended on May 29, 2021 except for schools, public transportation, and healthcare.
An original state mask requirement was challenged in Michigan courts but ultimately survived until May 15, 2021 when it was announced that the state would follow updated CDC guidance permitting fully vaccinated people to gather without face coverings. In June 2021, the mask requirement finally ended.
No State Mandate. Minnesota’s statewide mask requirements ended in May of 2021.
All previously issued mask requirements ended in March, 2021.
Mask requirements in the State of Missouri depend on what city you are traveling to. There is no state mandate, but local areas have issued their own requirements.
Montana is yet another state that has politicized a public health crisis; not only is there no mask requirement statewide, but there are bans in place against localized mask mandates.
No statewide mask rules are in effect for the State of Nebraska at press time.
The State of Nevada issued a mask requirement in July 2021; masks are mandatory in indoor public areas that have “high transmission rates”.
A statewide mask requirement was permitted to expire in April, 2021.
No State Mandate. New Jersey had an indoor mask requirement that was permitted to expire in May 2021.
State Mandate in Place for Everyone. A statewide mask requirement was initiated in August, 2021.
New York State rules for masks state that starting in May 2021, no masks are required for fully vaccinated people.
North Carolina’s mask rules ended April 30, 2021, and there is no mask mandate at press time except in schools, public transportation, and health care facilities.
A mask requirement in North Dakota was allowed to expire, and the North Dakota State Legislature banned further mask mandates from elected officials or health professionals. There is no North Dakota mask requirement at press time.
Northern Mariana Islands
There is no official mask requirement for the Northern Mariana Islands.
Ohio’s statewide mask requirements ended in June, 2021.
There is no statewide mask requirement in Oklahoma at press time.
As of August 2021, the State of Oregon has a mask requirement for all gatherings at indoor public areas regardless of vaccination status.
The state had a mask requirement until June 28, 2021 when the mandate was officially ended.
A Puerto Rico-wide mask requirement went into effect for all, vaccinated or not, in July 2021.
A statewide mask requirement for Rhode Island ended in July 2021.
Governor Henry McMaster was reported to have, at one time, encouraged local officials to employ mask mandates. In May 2021, however, the Governor signed an executive order banning mask mandates as part of state emergency notifications. No mask requirement exists statewide at press time.
No statewide mask requirement exists in South Dakota.
The Tennessee Governor, Bill Lee, issued an executive order in April 2021 banning local authorities from issuing mask mandates.
A statewide mask mandate was put in place in 2020, but since that time Texas Governor Greg Abbot has chosen to not only remove the mask requirement but added a ban on local governments, schools, and health officials from imposing a mask requirement.
U.S. Virgin Islands
A 2020 mask requirement ordered by the Commissioner of Health extends to all people in public places, work areas, public transit, etc. At press time this order is still in effect.
The Utah state Governor instituted a statewide mask requirement in 2020 ending a previous standards-set-by-county approach. But that mask mandate came to an end in April 2021.
During the pandemic in 2020, there was a statewide mask mandate in Vermont requiring masks indoors and outdoors in all public areas. In June 2021, Vermont Governor Phil Scott ended the mask requirement and all remaining coronavirus mandates due to roughly 80% of the entire state getting at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines. At press time this mandate-free condition still applies.
In May 2021, Governor Ralph Northam ended a statewide mask requirement and focused the state’s mask policies to match the Centers for Disease Control policy. The state mandate ended on May 28, but sources report a universal mask mandate is still required for schools.
In 2020, the State of Washington required face coverings for those in public places. This mask requirement was for all over the age of five, and while the state’s position changed briefly in May 2021, the state has since returned to its face covering requirements for public indoor venues regardless of vaccination status.
The West Virginia Governor’s office issued a press release dated June 20, 2021, ending a state-wide mask mandate for all indoor public areas. Visitors are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines for travel and tourism within the state.
A 2020 mask mandate was challenged in the Wisconsin Supreme Court and struck down. Since then, there has been no statewide mask requirement.
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced the end of the Wyoming statewide mask mandate, effective March 16, 2021, and has since resisted a renewed statewide mask requirement.