Wearing A Mask: Which States Are In Favor Of It And Which Aren't?

 Once only commonplace in East Asian countries and rarely seen outside of Asian communities around the world, surgical masks have become an everyday part of getting dressed for many people. Due to the pandemic currently sweeping the world, face coverings such as a surgical mask or scarf are recommended when going out in public. Some states have gone further and asked citizens to cover their faces before they will go out for essential supplies or use public transportation. 

 But why wear a mask? In the early days of the pandemic, there was a lot of speculation surrounding whether or not wearing a mask actually does anything to help protect you from the virus. And it’s true - a face covering is unlikely to prevent you from contracting the virus yourself, however, covering the face makes it harder for infected people to pass the virus on. As a result, the more people who are wearing a mask in public, the slower the spread of COVID19. 

It’s also important to bear in mind that wearing a mask isn’t a replacement for social distancing. Even while wearing a surgical mask or another face covering, people should be careful to remain at least six feet away from others outside of their household and avoid leaving their homes unless it’s essential. 

States That Require Masks:

With the exception of people with underlying medical conditions or very young children, the following states require residents to wear a mask when out in public:

Rhode Island:

While it’s not a requirement for customers to cover their faces while using businesses, employees in the state of Rhode Island are required to wear a cloth face covering or at least maintain a six feet distance from other employees and customers. All employees are required to wear a mask when entering and exiting company buildings or using any common areas at work. Businesses are encouraged to share their own mask requirements with customers, with many opting to ask customers to cover their faces while shopping. 

New York:

As the state that has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus, New York requires everybody over the age of two years old to wear a mask when out in public and social distancing is not possible. This state has had to make changes to current laws and get permission from the governor to waive the rules around ‘unusual, unnatural attire or facial alteration’ in public, which usually covers the wearing of masks. 

Maryland:

According to the local government, all customers and employees should cover their faces while using public transport in the state of Maryland. All employees and any customers over the age of nine are required to wear a mask when shopping in essential stores, although adults are encouraged to have younger children wear one wherever possible. 

Pennsylvania:

In Pennsylvania, the new orders from the Department of Health state that employers must provide their employees with masks that they are required to wear. In this state, customers will not be allowed inside an essential business without good reason if they are not wearing a mask. 

Connecticut:

In this state, masks are a requirement for anybody who is over the age of two and cannot maintain a six feet distance from other people in any public place. It’s required for anybody who is using public transport, taxis, or rideshare services to wear a mask. Employees at essential businesses are required to wear a face-covering over their mouth and nose at all times while working, and employers are required to provide employees with the masks or adequate materials to make them. Any customers over the age of two should also wear a mask when using essential businesses and services. However, proof that you are medically exempt from wearing a mask is not required should you choose not to wear one. 

New Jersey:

New Jersey was the first state to create new rules around wearing masks in public. Customers and employees are both required to cover their faces at essential businesses and employers are required to ensure that employees are provided with adequate masks. Any customer who refuses to wear a mask in the store is refused entry, although most businesses have provided contact-free shopping options for those who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons. Commuters may be denied entry if they refuse to wear a mask on public transport in this state. 

Texas:

Mask-wearing in public is not a requirement in Texas, but government officials are urging citizens to cover their faces when outdoors wherever possible, particularly when using public services or essential businesses. Dennis Bonnen is encouraging everybody to wear a mask and be compassionate to one another in these uncertain times. There have been several Dennis Bonnen recordings released where he urges citizens to look after one another and the healthcare services by promoting mask-wearing. Speaker Bonnen for Texas has a lot of information about the coronavirus on his website, Dennis Bonnen. He has served in the Texas House of Representatives for over two decades, and Rep Dennis Bonnen is dedicated to protecting the safety of his citizens. Dennis Bonnen wife supports her husband’s views, as you can read about on his website.

States that Don’t Require Masks:

While most states either require or recommend a mask is worn in public, some are allowing citizens to make the decision for themselves. The following states do not require you to wear a mask:

Wisconsin:

A stark contrast to many of the other states that have made public mask-wearing mandatory, Wisconsin is carrying on as normal. In fact, some residents say that if you step outdoors, you’d never guess that we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. While it has been encouraged, it’s down to citizens whether or not they want to wear a mask in public, and social distancing is encouraged. 

South Carolina:

In South Carolina, mask-wearing is not compulsory, and the decision as to whether or not they should wear one has fallen to the individual themselves. Both politicians and public health officials in this state are encouraging, but not requiring the use of masks, leaving many worried that a lot of people simply aren’t heeding the advice. 

Idaho:

Wearing a mask in public is not a legal requirement here, but in contrast to some of the other states where covering your face in public isn’t mandatory, Idahoans have been heeding the medical advice. Most essential businesses here have been providing their employees with face coverings in the workplace, and the general public is choosing to wear them for their own safety and that of others. 

To Wear or Not to Wear:

Unless you have a medical condition such as asthma, it’s recommended to wear a mask when out in public if you cannot social distance, even if you live in a state where it is not required. While mask-wearing is not a sure way to prevent yourself from catching coronavirus, it will reduce the spread from an infected person - and since so many people who have COVID19 are asymptomatic, you don’t know if you have it and could be unwittingly passing it on to others. It’s clear to see that the more people wear masks, the harder it will become for the virus to spread - and that’s why so many states have made it compulsory for now. 

Mask-wearing might be an alien concept to most of us in the West, but hopefully, if everybody steps up and wears a mask in public, we won’t have to do it for much longer.
 
 
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