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State and Local Face Mask Requirements

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    The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask when in public, but there is no nationwide mandate. So states, cities and local govts are tasked with using their own discretion on mask wearing requirements. And keep in mind mandates and suggestions are subject to change at a moment's notice anywhere in the country, as more data comes out about COVID-19.

    Two good resources for seeing if your state requires a face mask when in public are:

    Are face masks required where you live? Here are the rules for all 50 states

    What U.S. States Require Masks In Public?

    The second link shows a map of the US, so it's a little easier to look at. But the first link goes more in depth with cities per state. As of this posting, there are 15 states (and DC) that require face masks statewide when in public, to varying degrees. Then you have 8 states that require masks, but only for employees. Then the rest of the states, slightly more than half, don't require them at all but just suggest/strongly suggest them, but many of those suggestions are only for 'parts of the state'.

    States also make distinctions for not having to wear them when exercising, or in some states children under 10 don't have to wear them in public (like Virginia). Honestly the variance is too much to list in this forum.

    And if that weren't confusing enough, cities vary greatly on their level of requirement too. Major cities in Florida, Michigan, California and all across the US are requiring them city wide. But just as many or more are not.

    So requirements vary by state. Then can get more strict by county. Then even more strict by city or town. Not to mention stricter still by business. Some businesses won't let you in at all without a mask.

    Be sure and check with your local city and county websites on face mask requirements, and check regularly. If you just wear a mask when out in public at all times, you'd be sure to always be in compliance, especially when going into businesses or when you can't be a safe distance away from others outside.

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    I honestly have a hard time believing that we're four months in to this crisis and we still don't have a uniform face covering policy for all 50 states. The virus doesn't care if you live in a big city or small town; it's a virus.

    Someone who lives in a big city can visit a small town an unwittingly bring the virus with him or someone who lives in a small town can visit a big city and unwittingly spread the virus because she came down with it at a gathering in her small town.

    It still amazes me that so many people look at this as a "big city" problem. It's not. Residents in a small town in my home state found that out the hard way when a single church service led to at least 236 cases.

    Wearing a face covering isn't a political issue; it's a "being a decent human being" issue. If you're out in public and can't maintain social distance then cover your face. You don't need to if you're out on a walk in a big park, but do need to if you're at a grocery store. It's not that hard!