The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s order that requires universal face coverings was officially lifted statewide at 12:01 a.m.
“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,” said Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam. “Even though the universal masking order will be lifted, businesses, organizations, healthcare providers and other entities maintain the option of requiring employees, guests or customers to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status.”
Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced that 75 percent of Pennsylvanians aged 18 and older have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccination.
“Together, Pennsylvanians have hit a significant milestone in our fight against COVID-19,” he said. “Now, three out of four Pennsylvania adults have done their part in keeping themselves and their loved ones safe by getting at least one COVID-19 vaccination. We should be proud of how far we have come, as data shows us that with increased vaccination rates, we see a decline in COVID-19 cases. We have watched our percent positivity rate decline week after week, as evident in our current positivity rate of 1.2 percent as opposed to 1.4 percent last week.”
Pennsylvania has surpassed the goal set forth by President Joe Biden of 70 percent of adults receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July 4 and ranks 8th in the nation for first dose vaccinations. Additionally, 59.5 percent of Pennsylvanians aged 18 and older are fully vaccinated.
“As we celebrate this milestone, we must continue to inform all eligible Pennsylvanians about the effectiveness of the available vaccines and the importance of getting their second dose. They remain our best defense against this deadly virus and the potential threat of the delta variant,” said Wolf. “We each have the tools needed to make our communities safer, healthier places by getting vaccinated, continuing to wear masks as needed and staying home if we are sick. It is our collective responsibility to remain resilient and do our part for our fellow Pennsylvanians.”
The department continues to urge Pennsylvanians to follow CDC guidance for wearing a mask where required by law, rule and regulation, including healthcare, local business and workplace guidance. Those who have not yet been vaccinated or are partially vaccinated are still encouraged to wear a mask when in public. 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.
Individuals who are sick should stay home unless seeking medical care or COVID-19 testing. Beam added that those who are identified as close contacts of a person with COVID-19 should cooperate with all public health recommendations, including quarantine, so that if they become infected, they will not spread infection to others.