These 4 States Just Made Face Masks Mandatory
States are enacting new safety measures to prevent coronavirus case numbers from continuing to spike.
Coronavirus case numbers have continued to spike ever since a new surge hit the U.S. in mid-June. Some states with rising numbers are enacting new safety measures to try to contain the outbreaks. California, for example, which hit a record high of new COVID-19 cases on June 30, issued a statewide face mask requirement last week, along with three other states: North Carolina, Nevada, and Washington. In the days that have followed, four more states have decided to require masks for residents whenever they go out in public. Read on to learn which states just made face masks mandatory this week. And for more on mask requirements, check out These Were the First States to Mandate Masks. Here's How They're Doing.
Coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in Texas in the last week, reaching a daily high of new cases on June 30 and then again on July 1 with 8,123, according to The New York Times. That double record seemed to prompt Gov. Greg Abbott to release a statewide executive order on July 2 requiring all residents to wear face coverings in public spaces within any county with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, effective 12:01 p.m. on July 3. According to The New York Times data, only around 50 of the state's 254 counties have less than 20 confirmed cases.
"Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19," Abbott said in his statement. "We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texas can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces." And for more states that are in trouble, check out These 6 States Are Now in "Critical" COVID-19 Situations, Experts Say.
Gov. Tom Wolf issued an immediate executive order on July 2 mandating the use of face masks in Pennsylvania at all times in public. The state hit its peak of COVID cases at the end of April, according to The New York Times, but new cases have steadily risen again since mid-June.
"As we approach the Fourth of July holiday weekend and we see another spike in cases today in Pennsylvania, it's critical that Pennsylvanians take the mandate to wear masks seriously," Wolf said in his announcement. "We have seen evidence that indicates Pennsylvania's recent case increases can be traced to settings where people were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. This virus is not gone and mask-wearing is a required mitigation effort that we know works to stop its spread."
Kansas is also requiring face masks to be worn statewide as of July 3. Gov. Laura Kelly announced the new mask mandate on June 29, the same day The New York Times reported that Kansas had reached a daily high of 553 new coronavirus cases.
"This is a simple, proactive step we can take to keep Kansans at work, get our kids back to school, and keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy," Kelly said in her announcement. "Wearing a mask is not only safe—but it is necessary to avoid another shut down." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Oregon's statewide face mask requirement went into effect July 1. Gov. Kate Brown announced the mandate on June 29, which requires anyone over the age of 12 to wear a face mask when in any indoor public space. This news comes after Oregon recently hit a high of 368 new coronavirus cases on June 26, according to The New York Times.
"I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing," Brown said in a statement. "If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public." And for more on behaviors to avoid right now, check out Most COVID-19 Patients Did This One Thing Before Getting Sick, Study Finds.