Gov. Wolf: Sec. of Health Signs Expanded Mask-Wearing Order

Masks Are Mandatory in All Public Spaces

 
Series: Coronavirus | Story 187


Expanding on the business safety order signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine in April that requires the wearing of masks in businesses, Gov. Tom Wolf on July 1 announced a new order signed by Dr. Levine that takes the mask-wearing directive one step further.

With this order, signed under Dr. Levine’s authority under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves home. 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,” Gov. Wolf said. “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.”

The order outlines the situations when a mask must be worn and includes limited exceptions to the face-covering requirement.

Each of the state’s mitigation efforts has helped to slow the spread of COVID-19, kept our health care systems from being overwhelmed, and allowed for Gov. Wolf’s measured, phased reopening to proceed. But, with nearly every county is the green phase of reopening, complacency cannot be the norm.


“It is essential that Pennsylvanians wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel 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.”

More and more health experts have called for mask wearing, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who said during a June 30 Senate hearing on COVID-19, “Americans who don’t wear masks may ‘propagate the further spread of infection.’”

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.

Below is the official language of the order, for clarification:

Accordingly, on this date, July 1, 2020, to protect the public from the spread of COVID- 19, Dr. Levine has ordered

Section 1:

Face Coverings Defined

"Face covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A "face covering" can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. For purposes of this order, a face covering includes a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth. "Face coverings" may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or be improvised from household items, including but not limited to, scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. While procedural and surgical masks intended for healthcare providers and first responders meet these requirements, such as N95 respirators, these specialized masks should be reserved for appropriate occupational and health care settings.


Section 2:

Face Coverings Required

Except as provided in Section 3, individuals are required to wear face coverings if they are:

outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household;

in any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted;

waiting for, riding on, driving, or operating public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle;

obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank; or

engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when interacting in-person with any member of the public, working in any space visited by members of the public, working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, working in or walking through common areas, or in any room or enclosed area where other people, except for members of the person's own household or residence, are present wheri unable to physically distance.


Section 3:

Exceptions to Face Covering Requirement

A. The following are exceptions to the face covering requirement in Section 2:

Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, including those with respiratory issues that impede breathing, mental health condition, or disability;

Individuals for whom wearing a mask while working would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;

Individuals who would be unable to remove a mask without assistance;

A. Individuals who are under two years of age;

Individuals who are communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired or has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;

B. Individuals are not required to show documentation that an exception applies.

This Order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice.

 

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