These Are the Only Remaining States With No Face Mask Requirement
These four states are still not mandating masks in public, and it seems unlikely that they ever will.
As many states continue to see a spiking number of coronavirus cases, more have mandated face coverings in in an effort to curtail community spread. While some states put this protocol in place back in April, others have only lately instituted it. But masks are not yet mandated by law everywhere. As the pandemic continues to take its toll, there are still four states that do not require face masks to be worn in public. Keep reading to find out where they are. And to see how the early adopters are faring, These Were the First States to Mandate Masks. Here's How They're Doing.
Iowa's highest number of daily new cases, 758, was recorded on May 2. And it sees that the state may be about to peak again, after seeing 641 new cases on July 2. Although coronavirus is not subsiding in Iowa, there seems to be no mask mandate in the works, as the government leaves the decision in the hands of citizens. "We're going to base our recommendations on what we're seeing happening on the ground," Governor Kim Reynolds told KCCI News Des Moines on June 18. "And so Iowans need to decide that. The more information that we give them, they can make the decision to wear a mask or not."
Some local Iowa officials looking to pass mandates within their communities have hit roadblocks in doing so, per Iowa Public Radio (IPR). Despite being told by the state attorney generals' office that "local governments are not currently authorized to issue such orders," Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson announced a mask mandate in her jurisdiction on July 5. Broderson was able to get around these restrictions because Iowa Code grants cities and counties "police powers," which enable them to "protect rights, privileges, and property of the city and county and to preserve and improve the peace, safety, welfare, comfort, and convenience of their residents." Whether other counties in Iowa will follow suit remains to be seen.
Although Montana has consistently seen very few cases compared to other states, they are currently experiencing a spike. There were a handful of days in May during which Montana reported zero new cases, but on July 2, the number jumped to 67. While Governor Steve Bullock urges Montana residents to wear masks and adhere to social-distancing, he is not imposing any mandates. Per U.S. News & World Report, on July 2, Bullock said he wouldn't issue a statewide order requiring people to wear masks in public, instead, he would leave "county and tribal officials and business to consider their own measures as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rises."
Big Horn County is currently the only Montana county that requires masks, but officials in other countries are reportedly also considering the idea. However, some counties, including Whitefish and Missoula, are opting to strongly encourage wearing masks in public rather than implement a mandate, according to NBC News Montana. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Wisconsin's case numbers held steady throughout May—hovering mostly between 300 to 500 a day—but the state has since seen a steep increase, reporting 689 new cases on July 3. The office of Gov. Tony Evers told WISN 12 News that the state supreme court ruling his stay-at-home orders "unlawful" back in mid-May suggests that a state-wide mask mandate would not stand either.
"Unfortunately, Republicans' lawsuit to end our safer at home order severely hindered our ability to effectively respond to this pandemic and prevent further spread through requiring masks or limiting the size of gatherings," stay a representative for the governor. "The governor continues to ask everyone to do their part to keep our families, neighbors, and communities safe by encouraging folks to stay safer at home, limit social interaction and travel, and wear a mask in public." And for a shocking accusation from experts, check out WHO Is Wrong About This One Huge Coronavirus Fact, 240 Scientists Say.
South Dakota has never reported more than 250 cases in a single day, and their numbers are on the decline in July. For Donald Trump's Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore, Gov. Kristi Noem did not require attendees to wear masks or social distance, so the probability of a state mandate seems remote. To see how states who didn't have a stay-home order are faring, check out These 6 States Never Went into Lockdown. Here's How They're Doing.