If You Live Here, Masks are Now Mandated
It seems like longer than three months ago that the CDC advised vaccinated people that they no longer needed to wear face masks in indoor public spaces to protect against COVID-19. But the arrival of the highly contagious Delta variant has changed the equation. Today, the agency recommends that the vaccinated keep masking up indoors. And skyrocketing numbers of new cases and hospitalizations have led some governors to go a step further and reinstate mask mandates for all residents, regardless of vaccination status. These are the states where face coverings are now mandatory in public. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
As of Aug. 27, Gov. Kate Brown extended Oregon's mask mandate: All state residents older than 5 and are required to mask in indoor public spaces and outdoors where social distancing isn't possible, regardless of vaccination status. The state has experienced record highs in new COVID cases and hospitalizations.
All Louisiana residents age 5 and older are required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces, including schools, whether they've been vaccinated or not. Last Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards extended the mask mandate for another month, until at least Oct. 1.
On Aug. 23, a statewide mask order went into effect, requiring face masks for everyone older than 5 in most public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. Health officials also strongly recommend people wear masks in crowded outdoor settings where physical distancing is not possible. "While vaccines are the pathway out of this pandemic, wearing a mask is necessary to stem the current increase in COVID-19 cases, driven by the Delta variant," said Washington State Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah.
On Monday, Illinois' mask mandate was extended. Previously it applied only to the unvaccinated; now everyone older than 2 must wear face coverings in indoor public settings. "Masks work. Period," said Gov. J.B. Pritzker, adding that the state is "running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds."
As of Aug. 20, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham reinstated New Mexico's mask mandate: Residents are required to wear face coverings in all indoor public places, regardless of their vaccination status. Grisham said the move was necessary because of rising caseloads and stagnant vaccination rates. "This surge is a terrifying indicator of moving absolutely in the wrong direction, and hospital systems around the country are failing," she said.
In Nevada, indoor face masking is required for all people older than 9, regardless of vaccination status, in counties with substantial or high COVID-19 transmission rates. The mandate currently includes Clark County, home to Las Vegas.
State residents older than 5 are required to wear a mask in most indoor public settings. Additionally, on Aug. 24, Gov. David Ige urged tourists not to visit. "It is not a good time to travel to the islands," he said. "Our hospitals are at capacity. Our ICUs are full."
"I do know that that's a risk," he added. "But I believe as a community that's a risk that we have to take, to discourage travel to the islands until we can get to a better place with our health care facilities."
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.