What You Need to Know About Wearing a Mask Now
The new order from the state that makes wearing a mask in public mandatory follows a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
Following a spike in COVID-19 cases, wearing a mask in public is now an official rule in Pennsylvania.
On Wednesday, Governor Tom Wolf announced the new order signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine that makes wearing a mask mandatory whenever you leave the house. The order takes effect immediately.
“This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,” Wolf says. “Those hot spots can be traced to situations where Pennsylvanians were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing — two practices that must be adhered to if we want to maintain the freedoms we have in place under our reopening.”
According to the order, which Levine signed under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, Pennsylvanians must wear a mask outdoors if they’re unable to maintain a social distance of six feet.
Other settings in which a mask must be worn include any indoor location where the public is gathered, waiting for or riding on public transportation, visits with healthcare providers and in the workplace while interacting with other people.
There are exceptions to the face-covering requirement —and people with exceptions aren’t required to show documentation for them.
Specifically, those with medical conditions, including respiratory issues, do not have to wear one. The same goes if wearing a mask creates unsafe working conditions. Children under age 2 also are not permitted to wear a mask.
With nearly every county in the state now in the “green” phase of reopening, residents must not become lax regarding mitigation efforts, a press release from Wolf’s office says. On Thursday, Allegheny County set a single-day record number of COVID-19 cases with 233 confirmed new cases — more than double the previous day’s numbers.
“While cases increase in some areas, we cannot become complacent,” Levine says. “My mask protects you, and your mask protects me. Wearing a mask shows that you care about others, and that you are committed to protecting the lives of those around you.”
The governor’s office says the mask-wearing order will be sent to state and local officials, law enforcement and others tasked with education about the order for those not in compliance.