Pennsylvania will follow CDC's mask guidance for fully vaccinated residents

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Pennsylvania Health Department says it will follow the CDC's new recommendation to ease mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

The health department is stressing that this only affects those that are fully vaccinated.

"Today's guidance from the CDC affects only people who are fully vaccinated," Acting Secretary Beam said. "This is another incentive to get the vaccine that is now easily and conveniently available. Once 70 percent of Pennsylvanians over 18 are fully vaccinated, we can completely lift the masking order."

SEE ALSO: CDC: Fully vaccinated people can ditch masks indoors - most of the time
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In a striking move to send the country back toward pre-pandemic life, the CDC will ease indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people.



The new CDC guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues - even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

The CDC says state, local and business rules must be observed, which has business owners like Drew Arata considering what to do now.

"We've already had uncomfortable experiences with people who don't want to wear masks, and we're trying to take it all in stride. In a lot of ways, it's difficult unless all of us are on the same page," he said.

At the Lucky Well in Ambler, the policy on masks when dining outside is a personal choice. But inside, owner Chad Rosenthal says the masks have to remain on until you're seated.

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The Pennsylvania Health Department says it will follow the CDC's new recommendation to ease mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.



"When you come in here on a Friday night we're packed, there's a live band going now. I think it's important to keep the face masks on. When you sit at the table, take it off," he says.

Rosenthal says the new CDC guidance on masks is great news, but he just wants everyone to feel comfortable while we transition off masks.

"When you're walking through the crowd, I think it's great for everyone just to be respectful and keep it on," he adds.

Employee Skylar Lacey feels like the masks could go, under a condition.

"If there was a way we could kind of identify everyone that had been vaccinated then I'd definitely feel more comfortable with losing the masks," she said.

Officials in Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester counties say they will be following the commonwealth's lead. The Philadelphia Health Department says it is still reviewing the CDC's new guidance.

The Phillies, meanwhile, will welcome up to 16,000 fans to the stands at Citizens Bank Park against the Boston Red Sox starting May 22. That's in line with the city relaxing social-distancing guidelines from 6 feet to 3 feet.

SEE ALSO: Phillies increasing seating capacity; full stadium & tailgating return in June
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The Phillies are increasing seating capacity at Citizens Bank Park and will welcome back a full stadium - and tailgating - next month.



Seating capacity will increase to 100% for the rest of the season beginning June 12 for a two-game set against the New York Yankees.

The team said a limited number of seating pods will be available for fans who want a "socially-distanced environment." Tailgating also will be permitted in parking lots surrounding the ballpark, it said.

Face coverings are still required when attending games, under city guidelines, the team said.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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