HARRISBURG — Expanding on the business safety order signed by state Secretary of Health Rachel Levine in April that requires the wearing of masks in businesses, Gov. Tom Wolf announced a new order signed by Levine that takes the mask-wearing directive one step further.
Under the order, signed under 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,” Wolf said in a news release. “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," Levine said. "But, with nearly every county is the green phase of reopening, complacency cannot be the norm.”
Many health experts have called for wearing of masks, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci said during a Tuesday Senate hearing on COVID-19 that “Americans who don’t wear masks may ‘propagate the further spread of infection.’”
The mask-wearing mandate will be sent to state and local officials, law enforcement and others tasked with education about the order for those not in compliance, Levine said.