ALLENTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Masks will be required inside all Lehigh County government buildings beginning on Monday, officials said Friday. It applies to all employees and visitors, vaccinated or not.
The decision will be in place until further notice, according to county officials.READ MORE: 'I Just Have A Nightmare For Her': Loved Ones Of Hit And Run Victim Andree Broudo Still in Shock
It comes as COVID-19 cases in Lehigh County continue to surge due to the Delta variant.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved Lehigh County into its “substantial” level of transmission of the virus, up from the “moderate” level. The “substantial” level is the second-highest on the CDC’s transmission scale.
“We must do what needs to be done in order to protect our residents and our employees.” Lehigh County Executive Phil Armstrong said. “For the safety of our communities, I strongly encourage our residents and local businesses to reinstate the use of masks back into their daily routine. We can beat this surge, and I ask everyone who has not yet received their vaccine to get vaccinated so that we can protect ourselves from this virus and its variants.”READ MORE: Double Shooting In South Philadelphia Leaves 1 Dead
Masks will continue to be mandated inside Cedarbrook Senior Care & Rehabilitation, the Lehigh County 9-1-1 Center, and the Lehigh County Jail.
The Lehigh County indoor mask requirement is the latest of a slew of announcements Friday.
The University of Pennsylvania also said Friday all students and staff will be required to wear masks indoors, while New Jersey announced an indoor mask mandate for K-12 grades. The Community College of Philadelphia announced a vaccination requirement on Friday. The community college said all faculty and staff must be vaccinated by Oct. 1 in order to return to campus. If students aren’t vaccinated by that date, they’ll have to be tested regularly. But they have to get both doses by Jan. 18, 2022, or they’ll be required to take classes online.MORE NEWS: Hunting Park Shooting Leaves 1 Dead, Philadelphia Police Say
In the First State, the University of Delaware said all students and staff will be required to mask up indoors regardless of vaccination status effective immediately.