The order requires face coverings to be worn in all public places where social distancing is not possible. This includes both indoor and outdoor areas. The order includes limited exceptions including, but not limited to, children under two years of age, persons who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions, and situations where a face covering would be unsafe. The order cites concerns about a recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases observed in other states.
Face coverings are defined as, “a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears, or is wrapped around the lower face.” Face coverings can be homemade. Other states with universal mask orders include California, Nevada, Rhode Island, Oregon, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, New Mexico, Illinois, Washington and Kansas.
Pennsylvania has seen a modest increase in COVID-19 cases compared to other states. According to data on the Department of Health website, there were 635 new cases reported on June 30, 2020. This is up from 303 on June 7, 2020. Pennsylvania cases peaked on April 9, 2020 when 1,794 new cases were reported.
The order will stay in effect until further notice. The order cites the Disease Prevention and Control Act as providing the Department of Health authority to, “take any disease control effort appropriate to protect the public from the spread of contagious disease.”
According to Governor Wolf’s website, the mask-wearing order will be sent to state and local officials, law enforcement and others tasked with education about the order for those not in compliance.