PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Face masks are now mandatory at any time a Pennsylvanian leaves their home, Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday. The expansion of Wolf’s April executive order takes effect immediately.
The order comes as Americans are dealing with surging cases of COVID-19 and confusion over best practices in public, especially on masks. Statewide, Pennsylvania has seen an uptick in the percentage of new positive cases since mid-June.
“The mask-wearing order is essential to stopping the recent increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “Those hot spots can be traced to situations where Pennsylvanians were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing — two practices that must be adhered to if we want to maintain the freedoms we have in place under our reopening.”
About this new mandatory mask order by Pennsylvania health department officials — the document states when “outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household” @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/ygxd2IsE7y
— Joe Holden (@JoeHoldenCBS3) July 1, 2020
The order states that anyone who is “outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household” must wear a face mask.
Last week, Philadelphia officials made face masks mandatory in the city.
Meanwhile, Wolf also said Wednesday that he does not envision another broad shutdown order to contain the coronavirus in Pennsylvania and, rather, hopes to let local governments make decisions based on conditions they are seeing in their area.
Wolf’s Department of Health will continue to be a partner in supporting local officials, such as sharing information and best practices, he said.
Wolf acknowledged concerns over the disease spreading through July 4th gatherings, but said he feels pretty good about Pennsylvania’s situation.
In Philadelphia, city officials on Tuesday halted plans to allow indoor dining, bars, gyms and fitness centers to reopen, with officials saying its new case increases of over 100 each day are too many.
On Wednesday, Allegheny County recorded another high for a single-day report of new coronavirus cases as Wolf’s Department of Health Pennsylvania reported more than 600 new cases and dozens more coronavirus-related deaths.
Statewide, 636 new cases surpassed 87,000 total, while 38 new deaths pushed the state’s total to 6,697, the department said.
Allegheny County officials over the weekend ordered a halt to drinking alcohol in bars and restaurants due to what they call an “alarming” spike in COVID-19 cases.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)