Here are the states that are lifting their indoor mask mandates
As COVID-19 case numbers continue to decrease throughout the United States, a number of states — many with Democratic governors — are preparing to lift statewide indoor mask mandates for businesses, venues and schools.
These are the states that are set to lift indoor mask mandates, either fully statewide, everywhere except schools or only in schools:
- Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced Monday that the state would be phasing out its mask mandates for both schools and indoor settings over a period of two months, ending entirely in late March.
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) also announced Monday that the mask requirement for state schools would be lifted in March, after he signaled last week that the state would need to “learn how to live” with COVID-19.
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) stated Monday that vaccinated people will no longer be required to wear masks indoors beginning next week, but unvaccinated individuals will still be required to wear masks inside. Newsom said that school mask mandates will still remain in place for now.
- Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced Monday on her Twitter account that the statewide indoor mask mandate would end “no later than March 31.” The mask mandate for Oregon schools also ends on March 31.
- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Wednesday that the state mask-or-vaccine mandate would be lifted on Thursday, when it was set to expire, leaving such measures up to local governments. However, the mask mandate for New York schools will stay in place for the time being.
- Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced Wednesday that the commonwealth will end school masking requirements at the end of this month, citing high vaccination rates among Massachusetts children.
- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said Wednesday that he plans on lifting the state’s indoor mask mandate by the end of February, though he intends to keep the mandate in place for K-12 schools in Illinois.
- Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) announced Wednesday that the state will be lifting its vaccine-or-mask indoor mandate Friday. McKee also announced that Rhode Island will end its school mask mandate by March 4.
Despite the coming changes at the state level, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that the agency does not plan to relax masking guidance in the immediate future.
The CDC currently recommends that anyone over 2 years old and not fully vaccinated wear a mask indoors. It also recommends that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors in areas with high transmission, which is currently the vast majority of the country.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the administration is “continuing to convey directly to governors our recommendation that they abide by federal public health guidelines, but also our understanding that they may make decisions based on what’s best for their communities.”
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