Signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, the order expands on a previous business safety ordinance issued in April that mandated businesses to require mask-wearing inside of stores and for patrons and employees to follow social distancing and safety measures.
The order outlines situations where masks are required, including outdoors when less than 6 feet from any non-household members; inside of all indoor locations other than the home; inside of taxis, public transit, or ride-hail vehicles; when engaged in work or walking through common areas; and when obtaining health-care services of any kind.
Some exceptions are given for individuals who cannot wear a mask due to respiratory conditions, inability to remove the mask without assistance, or other disabilities; for children under two years old; for people who need to have their mouth visible to communicate; and for people who cannot wear a mask because it would create unsafe working conditions.
“This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,” 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 comes on the heels of this week’s decision to close down bars and on-site alcohol consumption in Allegheny County, enforcement of which began on Tue., June 30 at 5 p.m. Today, Allegheny County saw 110 new coronavirus cases, a record single-day high. It notes that as of July 1, every county in Pennsylvania has been affected by COVID-19. The total number of statewide positive cases is 87,343, and 6,687 people have died as of print.
The press release emphasized that despite the fact that almost all Pennsylvania counties are in the green phase of reopening at this time, “complacency cannot be the norm.”
“It is essential that Pennsylvanians wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Levine. “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.”