Governor Tom Wolf noted that research confirms the importance of wearing masks to stop the spread of COVID-19 and that Pennsylvanians are required to wear masks when entering any business in all counties in both yellow and green phases of reopening.
“As most counties are in or will soon be in the green phase of reopening, mask-wearing is a vital measure to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “Pennsylvania has emerged as a leader among states for reduced cases amid increased reopening and we want that to continue to keep people safe and healthy while returning to many of the activities we enjoyed before COVID.”
The mask requirement is part of Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel’s Levine’s order, “Directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-person Operations,” which pertains to all counties regardless of the phase of reopening. The order requires businesses to enforce mask-wearing unless someone has an underlying health condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. Children two or younger are not required to wear masks.
According to a recent study in the Institute of Physics, wearing simple medical masks or improvised facial coverings reduces community exposures from asymptomatic, but unknowingly infectious, individuals.
The study concludes that while people may perceive them to be ineffective or burdensome to wear, “wearing some form of exhaled barrier (mask) out in public during pathogen outbreaks is an altruistic act serving not only as a form of enhanced cough or sneeze etiquette, but also to reduce the aerosols emitted from normal breathing or when talking. Without daily testing, nobody can be certain that they are not an asymptotic disease vector. Scientifically, this is a positive step towards helping combat the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams took to twitter to advise that mask-wearing is contributing to and not infringing on freedom, tweeting in part, “Some feel face coverings infringe on their freedom of choice- but if more wear them, we’ll have MORE freedom to go out.”