On Tuesday, the administration of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced a new coronavirus-related crackdown on the citizens of Pennsylvania, which includes a mask mandate for people inside their own homes.
At the behest of Dr. Rachel L. Levine, the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, citizens are going to be mandated to mask-up in their homes if people outside of their household are inside.
“Strengthening masking order,” the department posted via Twitter. “Masks are still required. Indoors: masks now required anytime you’re with people outside of your household, even if you’re socially distant. Applies to all indoor facilities + if you have people in your home not part of your household.”
Folks visiting the state, or returning from another state, are also required to be tested within 72 hours before entering Pennsylvania, the department said.
▪️ Strengthening masking order. Masks are still required. Indoors: masks now required anytime you’re with people outside of your household, even if you’re socially distant. Applies to all indoor facilities + if you have people in your home not part of your household
— PA Department of Health (@PAHealthDept) November 17, 2020
In a media release, the agency noted that Levine’s Tuesday order includes the following rules:
- Masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.
- When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not in your household the entire time you are outdoors.
- When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from members not in your household. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household.
- This order applies to every indoor facility, including homes, retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.
Addressing colleges and universities, the department said the facilities “should have adequate capacity for isolation and quarantine and should be prepared to enforce violations of established policies such as mask wearing and physical distancing.”
“Every college and university should test all students at the beginning of each term, when returning to campus after a break and to have regular screening testing throughout the semester/term,” the department added.
“We must remain united in stopping COVID-19,” Levine said. “Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay apart and download the COVID Alert PA app. If you test positive, please answer the call of the case reviewer and provide information that can help protect others. It’s the selfless, right thing to do.”
As noted by The New York Times on Wednesday, a recent study from researchers in Denmark found that “surgical masks did not protect wearers against infection with the coronavirus.”
“The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, did not contradict growing evidence that masks can prevent transmission of the virus from wearer to others,” the Times said. “But the conclusion is at odds with the view that masks also protect the wearers — a position endorsed just last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”