The Last State Mask Mandate Has Expired

Hawaii, the last state to require face coverings indoors, ended its mask mandate at midnight on March 25.

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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

At midnight on Friday, indoor mask requirements ended in Hawaii. The Aloha State was the last in the union with a public mask mandate.   

“It’s taken the entire community to get to this point — with lowered case counts and hospitalizations,” Hawaii Gov. David Inge tweeted earlier this month when announcing the mandate’s March 25 end date.

“We’re also better at treating people who are infected, have boosters, and the CDC rates our COVID-19 community level ‘low,'” Inge added.

Hawaii still requires masks in public schools, however — the only state to do so — with no timeline for that provision to end.

On Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available, the State of Hawaii Health Department recorded a seven-day average of 78 cases — a 37% drop from just two weeks ago.

Since the state of the pandemic, Hawaii has reported just under 240,000 cases of COVID-19 and 1,373 deaths.

Read on to find out where masks are still required and what medical bodies like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about masking up.

Do any states still require masks indoors?

With Hawaii’s mask mandate retired, there are no states with blanket mask requirements in indoor venues like restaurants, theaters and sports arenas. 

Many still require them in hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, prisons and other specific areas. And individual businesses can make their own policies for customers and staff.

Which states still require masks in schools?

Statewide school mask mandates have expired in almost all states, with decisions about requiring face coverings typically being made on the local level: In California, for example, San Diego Unified school district announced that masks will be required until April 4.

Catherine Delahaye

Washington’s school masking requirements will expire on March 21.

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Hawaii is the only state still requiring masks in public schools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, with no projected timeline for the mandate’s expiration. 

It was only this month that education officials ended an outdoor mask requirement on school campuses.

According to state health department guidance, individual case investigation, contact tracing and quarantine of in-school exposures are no longer required as of March 22.  

What about masks on airplanes?

The current federal mandate requires travelers to wear masks in airports and on airplanes, buses, subways, trains, ferries and other forms of public transit through April 18.

Delta, American, Southwest and other airlines have called for the requirement to be rescinded but President Joe Biden has promised to veto any legislation overturning it. 

Supporters of the federal mandate say it protects immunocompromised passengers, people with underlying health conditions and those who aren’t eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, such as children age 5 and younger.

What are the CDC’s mask recommendations?

The CDC updated its mask recommendations in early March: While it still recommends people in areas with high levels of COVID-19 transmission wear masks indoors, it’s taking a more “holistic” approach that evaluates new infections and hospitalizations, as well as ICU bed occupancy rates.  

states without mask mandates

All 50 states have either ended their mask mandates in public spaces.

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You can look up your own county’s community COVID level with the CDC’s COVID-19 County Check tool.  

The CDC has said that people outdoors generally do not need to wear masks, regardless of community COVID level, unless they are in extended close contact with other people.

What does World Health Organization say about masks?

WHO’s current guidance is that wearing a well-fitting mask that covers the nose and mouth is recommended indoors in areas with poor ventilation or where social distancing cannot be maintained, “irrespective of vaccination status or history of prior infection.”

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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