While federal guidance regarding who is required to wear a mask changed last week, state health officials reiterated that businesses, schools and other organizations throughout the commonwealth are free to require masks be worn, even among fully vaccinated individuals.
The reminder, issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, says that while fully vaccinated individuals are free to go maskless most of the time, they must wear a face covering if a business, school or other organization in the commonwealth requires it.
“If you are fully vaccinated, it is an incentive to be able to remove your mask, but businesses and workplaces may still require this added layer of protection for their employees or customers that may have underlying conditions that continue to make them vulnerable to this virus,” acting state Health Secretary Alison Beam said in a statement. “We ask that Pennsylvanians continue to be kind and respectful to each other as we continue to fight COVID-19 in our communities and continue to get residents vaccinated.”
“The Secretary of Health’s universal face covering order remains in effect and unvaccinated individuals, including children, must still comply with the order,” a statement issued by the department last week, reads.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on mask wearing, confirming that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask indoor or outdoor settings under most circumstances.
The Wolf administration has previously pledged to lift the mandate requiring masks when 70 percent of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are fully vaccinated.