6 states rolling back indoor mask mandates

Six states that had imposed statewide mask mandates earlier in the pandemic are easing the rules as COVID-19 cases fall nationally, The New York Times reported Feb. 7.

Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Illinois, New York, Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. had statewide mask mandates in place as of Feb. 2, according to a Times database. 

The same states, in addition to New Jersey and Connecticut, also had statewide mandates requiring masks in schools. 

1. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Feb. 7 announced students and school employees will no longer be required to wear masks, effective March 7. 

"This is not a declaration of victory as much as an acknowledgement that we can responsibly live with this thing," Mr. Murphy said. 

2. California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted Feb. 7 that the state's indoor mask requirement will expire Feb. 15, citing the state's case rate, which has dropped 65 percent since its omicron peak. Unvaccinated people will still need to mask indoors. 

3. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced the state would lift its indoor mask requirements no later than March 31. 

4. Connecticut on Feb. 28 will lift the statewide rule requiring masks for students and staff at schools and childcare centers, Gov. Ned Lamont said. The end of the mandate will enable decisions about whether to require masks in these settings to be made at the local level. 

5. Delaware Gov. John Carney revised a state of emergency order on Feb. 7 to lift the state's universal indoor mask mandate Feb. 11. In schools, the mandate will expire March 31. 

6. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is set to drop the state's mask mandate Feb. 10, The New York Times reports. This will end the requirement for patrons to wear a mask inside businesses at all times or provide evidence of full vaccination. A separate mandate requiring masks be worn in New York schools is set to expire in a few weeks, though it's not yet clear whether that will be dropped or extended.

The mask rollbacks come as cases are falling in nearly every state. The daily average for new cases on Feb. 7 was 253,782, down about 62 percent compared to the two weeks prior, data from the Times shows. Hospitalizations are falling at a slower rate. 

To read more about current COVID-19 trends, click here.


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