7 States Where You're Breaking the Law if You Don't Wear a Face Mask

The use of fabric face masks was suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Many states , in particular, have made their own guidelines requiring people to wear masks. Some states, however, are going a little further and mandate people (with the exception of young children and those with medical conditions) to wear face masks while out in public. There are seven states where face masks are required, so by going out without one, you are legally breaking the law!

1. New York - When social distancing is not feasible, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was one of the first governors to demand facial masks in public. On Apr. 17, the New York state order went into effect. If you "live in a facility that has communal kitchens, restrooms, or other open areas," according to the New York City Department of Health, you even have to wear a face mask anytime you leave your building or room.


2. Massachusetts - Gov. Charlie Baker released an order forcing all citizens of Massachusetts to wear face coverings in public areas (both indoor and outdoor) where beginning on May 6, social distancing is not necessary. Those under the age of two or those with medical problems that prohibit them from wearing a mask are the only exceptions. NBC Boston claimed that anyone defying the mandate could face up to a fine of $300, but so far only citations have been released in the greater Boston area. For the most part, authorities "hand out masks and seek voluntary enforcement."


3. Illinois - As of May 1, where they can't manage a six-foot gap in public, NBC Chicago announced, Illinois residents (except those under the age of two) are forced to wear face masks. However, if they don't wear a mask, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he isn't "encouraging police officers to detain people and arrest them or take dramatic measures." Instead, he urges police officers to warn people that face masks are required and states that in order to join their organizations, private establishments need to require persons to wear face masks.



4. Hawaii - You have to wear a face mask in Hawaii whether you're either going out for a walk or drive. In Gov. David Ige's executive order, he orders that all consumers have to wear a face mask when waiting to join and while in an important company or service in Hawaii. And workers who have contact with clients or materials must also wear facial masks. Many who break this order can face a fine in prison of up to $ 5,000 or one year.



5. Delaware - In an amendment to his State of Emergency statement, Gov. John Carney released an order saying that citizens of Delaware had to wear face covers in "public environments, including grocery shops, drug stores, hospitals, doctor's offices, and on public transport," beginning on May 1, except for children 12 years of age or younger. "Violations of the emergency order, or any of its amendments, constitute a criminal offence," according to the official Delaware government website.



6. Connecticut - An executive order forcing Connecticut residents to wear facial masks in public was signed by Gov. Ned Lamont beginning Apr. 20. Lamont wants residents to self-enforce the law, according to the Hartford Courant, and has not addressed a fee for those who defy the order, but corporations will deny admission to patrons who do not wear face masks.



7. Rhode Island - The Rhode Island Commerce Company announced that people must wear a face mask when out in public beginning on May 8, "excluding children under two and persons whose welfare will be compromised by wearing a face covering." Staff working with clients, office-based businesses, building personnel, and suppliers are now expected to have face coverings while at work, and businesses must have facial coverings while at work.