Pennsylvania lifting universal masking order on Monday

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania will officially end its universal masking order statewide on Monday.

The mask mandate will be lifted as of 12:01 a.m. on June 28, the Department of Health announced Friday.



"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.

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.

Philadelphia, which followed its own orders, lifted its final COVID restrictions, including the indoor mask mandate on June 11.

The health department continues to urge Pennsylvanians to follow CDC guidance for wearing a mask where required by law, rule, and regulations, including health care, local business and workplace guidance.

"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," Beam said.



The CDC also 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.

The health department still encourages those who have not yet been vaccinated or are partially vaccinated to wear a mask when in public for the protection of themselves and others.

"As we shift to wearing masks less often, it is important to remain resilient in the fight against COVID-19,just as we have done together over the last year and a half," Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. "The COVID-19 vaccines are the best tools we have to defeat COVID-19. Pennsylvanians are aware of this and have been getting vaccinated. If you have not already been vaccinated, there are plenty of options available near you. Getting as many Pennsylvanians vaccinated as possible will offer more protection against the virus for everyone and is the fastest and safest way for us to return to our normal activities."

The CDC says 74.9 percent of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older have received their first dose, while 59.4 percent are fully vaccinated.

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

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