The Pennsylvania Department of Health lifted the order requiring universal face coverings statewide on June 28. However, residents are urged to follow mask-wearing guidance where required.“We are continuing to make progress toward stopping the spread of COVID-19 throughout the commonwealth, as many Pennsylvanians have taken responsibility for their own health and the health of their communities by getting vaccinated,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said when the announcement was made. “Even though the universal masking order will be lifted in a few days, businesses, organizations, health care providers and other entities maintain the option of requiring employees, guests or customers to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status.”
The department continues to urge Pennsylvanians to follow CDC guidance at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html for wearing a mask where required by law, rule, and regulations, including healthcare, local business and workplace guidance.
For the protection of themselves and others, individuals who have not yet been vaccinated or are partially vaccinated are still encouraged to wear a mask when in public. The CDC requires individuals to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations.
In addition, all individuals should still follow guidance at workplaces, local businesses, long-term care facilities, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, prisons, and shelters.
“As we shift to wearing masks less often, it is important to remain resilient in the fight against COVID-19, just as we have done together over the last year and a half,” Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “The COVID-19 vaccines are the best tools we have to defeat COVID-19. Pennsylvanians are aware of this and have been getting vaccinated. If you have not already been vaccinated, there are plenty of options available near you. Getting as many Pennsylvanians vaccinated as possible will offer more protection against the virus for everyone and is the fastest and safest way for us to return to our normal activities.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine tracker, as of last Friday morning, June 25, 74.9% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older have received their first dose, while 59.4 % are fully vaccinated. The commonwealth ranks 8th among all 50 states for first doses administered by percentage of population.
Additionally, individuals are reminded that public health measures such as isolation and quarantine are necessary to prevent the spread of infection.
It is important for individuals who are sick to stay home unless seeking medical care or COVID-19 testing.
Individuals who are identified as close contacts of a person with COVID-19 should cooperate with all public health recommendations, including quarantine, so that if they become infected, they will not spread infection to others. The universal masking order was originally issued on April 15, 2020, updated on November 18, 2020 and again March 17, 2021.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s vaccination program, visit: www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx.
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