July 01, 2020
Don't leave home without wearing a face mask in Pennsylvania. People not only need face coverings to enter indoor public spaces, like businesses, as of Wednesday the state is requiring them to be outdoors in public spaces, as well.
The reason for the stricter rule: On Wednesday, Pennsylvania recorded its greatest number of new COVID-19 cases in one day – 635 – in almost a month. On June 5, the state reported 667 people tested positive for the coronavirus, and prior to that, the last time Pennsylvania topped 635 new cases was on May 26, when there were 654 positive COVID-19 tests.
Pennsylvania made wearing face masks mandatory with an order signed by Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. The order takes effect immediately and remains in effect until health officials determine it is safe to end the requirement. (The entire four-page order can be read at the end of this article.)
"It is essential that Pennsylvanians wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19," Levine said. "While cases increase in some areas, we cannot become complacent. 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."
Face masks are required to be worn by people outdoors when they are unable to consistently practice social distancing from those not part of their households, as well as inside any location where the public is permitted.
Workplaces must have employees wear face coverings when employees are in any of these situations:
• Interacting with the public
• Working in spaces visited by the public
• Working any area where food is prepared and packaged for distribution to others
• Working in and walking through common areas of a workplace
• Occupying any room or enclosed space where other people are present and unable to remain six feet apart
Masks must be worn while riding public transportation or in taxis or ride-sharing services. Those accessing health care services at hospitals, pharmacies, doctor's or dentist's offices must have a face mask on, as well. They will also be required in schools too.
There are some exceptions.
Children younger than 2 do not have to wear face coverings. People who cannot wear masks because of health conditions are exempt, as is anyone unable to remove a face covering on their own. Other exemptions are listed in the document below.
No one is required to show proof he or she qualifies for a mask exemption, and state and local officials and law enforcement will be tasked with making sure residents comply with the order.
Earlier this week, Philadelphia officials mandated that people wear masks in all indoor public places and outdoors when less than 6 feet away from other.
Since early June, all SEPTA riders have been required to wear face coverings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Head counts conducted by health department inspectors in June found that about 55% of people inside SEPTA stations were wearing masks.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone wear face masks when outside their homes. The masks do not protect the person who wears them; rather, they prevent sick individuals — including those who do not have symptoms — from spreading the coronavirus.