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Coronavirus face masks still aren’t required in these 8 states, which is insane

Published Jun 3rd, 2020 2:04PM EDT
coronavirus mask laws
Image: Radowitz/Shutterstock
  • Most states mandate the wearing of masks in public places, but not every state is on board with these rules.
  • A total of eight states currently don’t have official guidelines stating that masks should be worn.
  • These states are likely at an increased risk of a second wave of coronavirus cases due to their lax approach.

As the United States continues to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic, some states have started to roll back restrictions on things like public gatherings, services, and businesses. Most states still have some kind of guideline in place to push citizens to wear protective face coverings in order to slow the spread of the disease, since we already know that doing so works. Effective face masks are incredibly affordable, and you can even make your own.

However, there is a handful — well, a few more than a handful — of states that have no such measures in place and don’t require masks to be worn. It’s still advised that people wear masks, but these states don’t have any official mandates in place.

The list of states that don’t require a mask is as follows:

  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Wisconsin
  • South Dakota
  • Nevada
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • South Carolina

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Masks do work to protect you against others who may have the virus and, if you have COVID-19 (whether you know it or not), it protects those around you in a similar manner. Wearing them in public places and even at home can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that healthcare services can deal with the number of infected patients without being overwhelmed.

I happen to live in one of the states on this list. I live in Wisconsin, and I can tell you that if you went to a local grocery store, mall, or big-box store, you’d never know that we’re living in the midst of a pandemic. Sure, people here have died of COVID-19, and many more have been hospitalized. Community spread — where cases pop up without known origins — was confirmed months ago. It doesn’t seem to matter to most people.

I do my best to follow all of the best practices we’ve been learning over the past few months. I wear a mask in public, I avoid public places (which are packed with people right now), and I wash my hands after dealing with any surface that might be contaminated, like a credit card keypad. I seem to be in the minority.

We’ve been hearing about the dreaded “second wave” of coronavirus cases for a while now. As states loosen restrictions and people forget (or intentionally ignore) advice on how to stay healthy, new cases are bound to pop up at a greater rate. If you’re looking at this list and thinking “Boy, I wish I lived in one of these awesome states that don’t care about masks!” I’d advise you to think differently.