The Lead

After more than a year, Pa’s mask mandate ends Monday

By: - June 25, 2021 5:49 pm

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Pennsylvanians will no longer be required to wear masks in public settings starting Monday according to state health officials. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced Friday that it would lift the order requiring universal face coverings beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 28. 

As of Friday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine tracker confirmed that 75 percent of adult Pennsylvanians had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and that 59.5 percent of adult Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. 

State health officials celebrated the milestone, but added that businesses, health care providers and other organizations can still require visitors to wear a mask.  

“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 in a statement. “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 noted that the CDC still requires face coverings be worn on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation. Masks must still be worn in airports and train stations, as well. 

In May, Gov. Tom Wolf said the administration would lift the statewide mask mandate once 70 percent of adult Pennsylvanians were fully vaccinated. Pennsylvania is still 10.5 percentage points away from hitting that goal, despite the mask order lifting. 

Wolf admin.: Pa. to lift COVID-19 restrictions by Memorial Day; mask order once 70 percent of adults are vaccinated

Wolf praised vaccinated Pennsylvanians on Twitter on Friday, as the commonwealth exceeded the national vaccination goal (70 percent with at least the first dose by July 4) set by President Joe Biden back in May.

“Together, Pennsylvanians have hit a significant milestone in our fight against COVID-19,” Wolf said in a statement. “Now, three out of four Pennsylvania adults have done their part in keeping themselves and their loved ones safe by getting at least one COVID-19 vaccination. We should be proud of how far we have come, as data shows us that with increased vaccination rates, we see a decline in COVID-19 cases. We have watched our percent positivity rate decline week after week – as evident in our current positivity rate of 1.2 percent as opposed to 1.4 percent last week.”

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared. Follow her on Twitter: @Wordsby_CassieM.

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