Pennsylvania mask-wearing order to be lifted by end of June

More than 70 percent of adults have gotten their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

By Brett Sholtis

Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said the state is leaning on community-based organizations to reach more people of color.

Commonwealth Media Services

Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said the state is leaning on community-based organizations to reach more people of color.

(Harrisburg) — By the end of June, Pennsylvanians will no longer be required to wear a face covering, state health officials said Wednesday.

The state order that had Pennsylvanians masking up for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted at the latest by June 28, said Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam.

If 70% of adults are fully vaccinated before that date, the state will end the mask mandate early, Beam said.

There’s a good chance that will happen, Beam added. She pointed out that more than 70% of adults in Pennsylvania have gotten their first dose of the two-dose immunization. Most of those people should be fully vaccinated within a month.

The lifting of the mask mandate comes as the state also is about to end its business mitigation order. That’s set to expire May 31, returning capacity in restaurants and other businesses to pre-pandemic levels.

“These updates will not prevent municipalities and school districts from ​continuing and implementing stricter mitigation efforts,” the Department of Health states on its website.

The health department recommends people follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, and wear a mask “where required by law, rule, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

“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, prisons and homeless shelters.”

New daily cases of COVID-19 are down significantly from April, when the commonwealth saw a spring surge of cases. Data show an average of 1,184 new cases each day in Pennsylvania over the past week.

Brett Sholtis
Brett Sholtis

Brett Sholtis was a health reporter for WITF/Transforming Health until early 2023. Sholtis is the 2021-2022 Reveal Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal Grantee for Mental Health Investigative Journalism with the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. His award-winning work on problem areas in mental health policy and policing helped to get a woman moved from a county jail to a psychiatric facility. Sholtis is a University of Pittsburgh graduate and a Pennsylvania Army National Guard Kosovo campaign veteran.

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