Health

You’re NOT Required to Wear Face Masks in These 8 States

After months of self-isolating due to the coronavirus, you might be ready to get back into your city as it reopens. Doing so requires you to familiarize yourself with your state’s laws and recommendations about how to do so safely. The website #Masks4All rounded up which states have and have not mandated that you wear a facemask—however please note: It is recommended you wear one in most situations, especially when social distancing is not possible, as doing so can help prevent you from getting infected or infecting others.

Here are the eight states where it’s not mandated.

Montana Helena
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“Montanans are strongly encouraged to continue sanitation practices, including hand washing and wearing masks in public places like grocery stores,” says the state government—but there is no mandate. “The individual actions of Montanans have collectively made a difference. Staying 6-feet away, washing hands, wearing masks while in public, and staying home when sick, have all contributed to us being able to move forward with the plan to reopen Montana,” said John Felton, Yellowstone County Health Officer and President/CEO of RiverStone Health.

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“While some states have mask orders in place, which puts businesses that choose not to enforce the rule at risk of losing state aid or licensing, Wyoming has only issued a mask recommendation,” reports Cowboy State Daily. “Wearing a face covering is absolutely not a substitute for social distancing, which remains important to slowing the spread of this virus,” said Wyoming State Health Officer Alexia Harrist, adding that her department “still advises residents the cloth covering is better than nothing at all.”

Madison, Wisconsin, USA state capitol building at dusk.
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Although “arts and craft stores may offer expanded curb-side pick-up of materials necessary to make face masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE),” face masks are not mandated in Wisconsin. As for non-essential businesses: “Face coverings are recommended for staff and customers.”

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA skyline over the strip at dusk.
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Why hasn’t Nevada mandated face masks? “I don’t think it’s a matter of the face covering,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said during a Vegas Chamber webinar, “I think it’s a matter of people not wanting to be told what to do.” The state recommends handwashing, not touching your face, covering your cough with a tissue (and throwing the tissue in the trash), and staying home when you’re sick—among other prevention measures—but does not mention a face mask in its prevention tips.

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There is no mandate to wear face masks, but the state government does advise: “Individuals should…wear face coverings while in public, especially when six-foot distancing is not always possible (e.g., inside businesses).”

A storm rolls in at dawn at the South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre, South Dakota
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“Masks have never been required, but South Dakotans are encouraged to continue to consider CDC guidance and use,” according to the state government.

Historical downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina, USA at twilight.
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The state has a helpful link to making your own homemade masks on its COVID website, but wearing one is not mandated, only recommended. “While these measures are optional, they may help reduce the spread of the virus. They are not intended to replace social distancing and hand washing recommendations which people must continue to use to protect themselves.”

Des Moines Iowa skyline and public park in USA
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“Members of the public and employees should consider the use of cloth face coverings (when practical) if staying at least 6 feet away from others is not possible,” says the state’s reopening plan.

As for you: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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