Pennsylvania lifts masking order after more than a year

Monday, June 28, 2021
Pennsylvania lifts masking order after more than a year
The universal masking order was lifted in Pennsylvania.

ARDMORE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- As of 12:01 a.m. Monday, the universal masking order was lifted in Pennsylvania after more than a year.

Those who are not vaccinated are still encouraged to wear them.

In Wynnewood, some expressed relief to see the rule go.

"It's awesome. It's great, really happy to be able to see everyone's faces," exclaimed Matt Wills from Oxford.

"I'm going to miss it because I never had to shave with the mask," joked Bob from Narberth, who declined to give his last name.

Last month, state officials said Pennsylvania would lift its mask mandate on June 28 or when 70% of the state's adult population was fully vaccinated.

June 28 came first.

The CDC still requires people to wear masks on public transportation, on planes, in airports and at train stations.

While businesses can still dictate whether masks are required in their establishments, some think dropping the universal mask order will diffuse some of the tension.

"Yeah, it changed a lot. You don't have a lot of attitudes with a lot of people mad because they have to wear the mask," said Chester Jones of West Philadelphia.

Nearly 60 percent of adults in the commonwealth are fully vaccinated, and about 56.5 percent in Philadelphia.

In Pennsylvania, 7.6 million residents are partially vaccinated, and about 75 percent of Pennsylvanians 18 and over.

But as the mask rule expires in the Commonwealth, WHO is urging fully vaccinated people to continue wearing masks in public settings over concerns regarding the Delta variant.

"I think the more people take their masks off, the more germs will spread and the virus will start back up," said Lydia Parsons of Cheltenham.

"I had the shots back in February. I volunteered at a VA hospital. If I haven't caught something, forget it, it's not going to happen," added Bob from Narberth.

Pennsylvania lifted all other of its COVID-19 restrictions on Memorial Day. Earlier in May, the Pennsylvania health department followed the CDC's guidance to ease mask-wearing orders for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors and in most indoor settings.

The universal masking order in Pennsylvania was originally issued on April 15, 2020.