Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Reinstates Mask Mandate for Indoor Events

The organization made the decision because of rising COVID case counts in Allegheny County.


It’s something some may have seen coming: masks are back.

Starting June 1, all Cultural District venues will require patrons to wear a mask to attend any indoor event. These venues include Heinz Hall, the Benedum Center, the Byham Theater and more. 

The Cultural Trust cited a high community level of COVID-19 in Allegheny County. The county moved from the medium risk level to the high-risk level on May 27. The risk level is determined by the number of new COVID-related hospital admissions, inpatient beds being used by COVID-19 patients and new cases in the last week. Because so many people are testing at home, health authorities say the total number of infections is undercounted. 

During the week ending May 25, there were 92 reported COVID-related hospitalizations — up from 76 the week ending May 18. The county had previously been at a low level of risk since February. 

When the county is at a high-risk level, it’s advised that residents wear a mask when indoors in public. Those at high risk for severe illness may need to take additional precautions to stay safe. Regardless of risk level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages everyone to stay up to date on vaccines and get tested if they’ve been exposed or are feeling sick.

Since the low-medium-high metrics were implemented earlier this year, it has been the Cultural Trust’s policy to reinstate the mask mandate if the community risk level moved to high.

“We will continually monitor CDC, state and local health requirements and adjust as necessary,” the Cultural Trust said in a statement. “Individual touring productions may have their own health and safety requirements. Updates will be noted on individual event pages and in pre-show emails, if applicable.”

Masks have remained mandatory at some venues, including the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, even as requirements eased elsewhere. 

Outside of the Cultural Trust, mask mandates have been returning slowly as COVID cases rise once again. Pittsburgh Public Schools reinstated its mandate in mid-May when the county’s risk level first moved from low to medium. Some area universities, namely the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State, have also brought back their own mask mandates across all campuses “until further notice,” Pitt said in a tweet.

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