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Number of US States mandating protective mask use before 2021:

Prior to 2020-04-01, the US Surgeon General and CDC officials discouraged people without symptoms from wearing masks to protect themselves from infection. On 2020-04-04 the CDC reconsidered their stance and now recommends the use of cloth masks in public. Since then Laredo, Texas and Los Angeles, California have municipal laws that require the use of face coverings in public.

The Director of the Chinese CDC has stated that people in the US and Europe were making a big mistake by not wearing masks. Some Chinese cities have required the use of protective masks in all public places and some large US cities had similar laws during the 1918 flu pandemic.

This question asks: How many US states will mandate wearing masks in any public space before 2021?

This question resolves to a credible source that lists all of the states that have mandated civilian use of masks. If such a source is not available, the question will resolve to a set of government statements or credible news reports that indicate state orders for civilians to wear any type of face mask outside of the home. For the purpose of this question:

  • Only state-wide orders will count toward positive resolution; municipal orders won't count, even if they jointly cover the entirety of a state.
  • In order to count toward positive resolution, the state-wide order must impose some sort of civil or criminal sanction for failing to wear a mask in public.
  • The order must require that masks be worn in at least some public places, but it is not necessary that masks be worn in all public places.
  • The order will count regardless of how long it is in place for.
  • The order must be related to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. required respirators for activities such as asbestos abatement do not count).

This question was preceded by one covering both states and the largest cities.

Change log:

  • Resolution criteria "The order must be related to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. required respirators for activities such as asbestos abatement do not count)" added to clear up ambiguity.

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