Rossen Reports: We conducted a mask experiment at grocery stores. Here’s what we found

Here's where all 50 states stand on mandating face coverings.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Many states and their health departments suggest face masks and some have even put rules in place to enforce them in public places. The Rossen Reports team is finding out how many people are actually wearing face masks in public.


We’re fanning out across many states; counting how many people are heading into the grocery store with and without masks.

Below is a list of where all 50 states stand on mandating face coverings (as of June 25):


The state doesn’t mandate face coverings or masks but some cities and businesses are requiring it. The Alabama Department of Public Health is recommending face coverings while out in public spaces.


The state advises Alaskans to do things to minimize the risk of COVID-19, like washing your hands and wearing a mask while around others. Some cities and businesses in the state might require masks while inside establishments.


The governor of Arizona is allowing individual cities to create their own mask policies and requirements. Many local governments in the state are working on those rules or already have them in place.


The state’s health department recommends wearing face coverings.


The California Department of Public Health today released a guidance requiring the use of face coverings in public indoor spaces, while riding on public transportation or while seeking medical care.

The governor’s order also mandated the use of masks or face coverings in public outdoor spaces when social distancing is not an option.


The state recommends people wear face coverings while out in public but there is no statewide order mandating them. The governor did sign an executive order requiring employees of public transit and critical businesses to wear face masks.


The governor signed an executive order in April that requires face coverings in public where close contact is unavoidable.


The state says residents must wear face masks while in public, including at grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor's offices and on public transportation.


Masks aren’t required by the state but the state health department issued a public health advisory recommending face coverings in any setting where social distancing isn’t possible.


The governor of Georgia urges all Georgians to follow safe habits to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and keep the virus from spreading. That includes wearing a face covering in public settings, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently.


The governor signed a proclamation in April that says everyone must wear a face covering inside essential businesses.


As Idaho reopens, residents are encouraged to wear face coverings in public.


The state issued an order in May that’s still in effect. Face coverings are required while shopping at essential businesses, traveling on public transportation, picking up food, or visiting the doctor and when it's impossible to stay six feet apart.


The state’s health department recommends people wear masks in places where maintaining social distancing can be difficult.


The health department encourages people to wear face masks, but it’s not a state requirement.


The governor and the state Department of Health and Environment is recommending that residents wear cloth face coverings when out in public.


The governor of Kentucky ordered all state residents to wear face masks in public. While businesses and grocery stores will have the ability to deny service to unmasked people, the governor says people who do not wear masks in public will not be cited or arrested.


The state Department of Health says masks or face coverings should be worn in indoor public spaces and anytime in public when you are near others who are not in your immediate household.


The state requires face coverings or masks for anyone over the age of 2 in indoor public spaces such as supermarkets, retail stores, pharmacies and doctor's offices.


The governor signed an order in April that stated everyone (over the age of nine) should wear face coverings in food and retail establishments and while on public transportation.

The governor issues an executive order back in May that’s still in effect, requiring face coverings in public places where social distancing isn’t possible. This includes indoor, outdoor spaces and while using public transportation or car services.


The governor of Michigan’s most recent executive order states that any who who enters a food-selling establishment or pharmacy [who is able to medically tolerate a face covering] must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth.


Local governments may require face coverings in public establishments.


The state Department of Health recommends all Mississippi residents should wear non-medical grade masks or homemade cloth face coverings when shopping, running errands, or otherwise being away from home.


Face coverings are not mandated by the state.


Montanans are encouraged to continue sanitation practices, including hand washing and wearing masks in public places like grocery stores.


Nebraska doesn’t have a statewide mandate that requires face masks in public but the health department does recommend it.


The governor has signed an order making face coverings mandatory in public.

New Hampshire:

Face coverings are not mandated by the state but the health department recommends them.

New Jersey:

The state requires customers and employees to wear face coverings at essential businesses and construction sites. Commuters on public transit must also wear face coverings. If they refuse to, they could be denied entry. The governor is asking residents to wear face coverings and practice social distancing in public until there’s a vaccine or effective treatment.

New Mexico:

People are required to wear masks in all public settings, except while eating, drinking, exercising or for medical reasons.

New York:

All New Yorkers must wear a face covering when outside of their home if they cannot maintain at least 6 feet from others. The governor also issued an order that says businesses can deny entry to individuals who do not wear masks or face-coverings.

North Carolina:

North Carolina’s governor announced face masks are mandatory in public places starting Friday, June 26 at 5 p.m.

North Dakota:

Face coverings are not mandated by the state.


Face coverings are recommended by the Department of Health for people who can safely wear them.


The state of Oklahoma doesn’t mandate the use of masks but cities and towns across the state are enforcing guidelines that may include rules on wearing face masks.


The governor released a new order stating that masks must be worn by people visiting business in these counties: Clackamas, Hood River, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk and Washington counties.

Pennsylvanians are required to wear masks when entering any business in all counties in both yellow and green phases of reopening. The governor of Pennsylvania cited research in a press release that confirms the importance of wearing masks to stop the spread of the virus. The release also reminds Pennsylvanians of the order from the health department requiring businesses to enforce mask-wearing unless someone has an underlying health condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.

Rhode Island:

The state extended an executive order that requires face coverings while out in public, including in grocery stores, pharmacies, retail stores, public transportation, etc.

South Carolina:

Wearing a face mask out in public has been recommended by the state’s health officials to help stop the spread of the virus but it is not a state mandate. Some cities across the state have created their own rules and requirements for wearing masks in public spaces.

South Dakota:

The South Dakota Department of Health recommends that people wear face coverings.


Face coverings are not mandated by the state.


The governor encourages Texans to wear masks but it is not a state-wide rule. Local governments across the state may be able require stores and business to require masks while inside their establishments.


Face masks are not mandated by the state but are recommended.


The Health Department recommends that all Vermonters wear cloth face coverings when outside of the home to help slow the spread of COVID-19.


The governor announced everyone age 10 and older will be required to wear face coverings in public places. This includes stores, public transportation, etc.


The governor and the state health department announced a new rule [which will go into effect Friday] that will require masks in any indoor public space, as well as outdoors if social distancing can't be maintained. Any facial covering that fits over the nose and mouth will be permitted.

West Virginia:

Residents are advised by the state’s Health and Human Resources Department to wear face coverings while in public places where social distancing is hard to maintain.


The state doesn’t have rules requiring face coverings in public but the state’s health department encourages resident to wear a cloth face covering in situations when physical distancing is difficult.


State health officials recommend residents wear face coverings in public.