HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Effective immediately, masks will be required to be worn almost everywhere in Pennsylvania except people’s respective homes.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed the mandate Wednesday, which expands on the requirement of wearing masks in businesses. According to the governor’s office, Levine has the authority to issue such an order under the Disease Prevention and Control Act.

“This mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in Covid-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a 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 when masks must be worn; it most notably adds being outdoors while unable to maintain consistent six-foot distance.

Exceptions include but are not limited to:

  • If a person has a medical condition
  • If wearing a mask creates an unsafe working condition, determined by officials and guidelines
  • If a person is unable to remove a mask without help
  • If a person is under two-years-old

“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.” 

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 other officials whose responsibility is educating those who are noncompliant.

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