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Wolf administration: Mask wearing in all public places mandatory ‘until further notice’

LEWISTOWN — Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine released an expanded mask wearing order Wednesday requiring people to wear a mask in any public space in Pennsylvania in which physical distancing cannot be practiced or maintained until further notice.

According to the order, face coverings must be worn if people are outdoors and unable to maintain at least six feet of space between themselves and anyone who is not a member of the same household, in any indoor location in which the general public is permitted, while waiting for or riding on public transit, taxi or ride-sharing vehicle, obtaining health care services and people engaged in work, whether on-site or off-site, when interacting with the public, entering any public space or common area, working in any area where food is prepared for the consumption of others and in any room or enclosed area where other people who are not members of the same household are present and physical distancing cannot be observed.

Face coverings are defined in the order as any device held to the face by straps, ties, loops or is wrapped around the lower face. Masks can be but are not required to be professionally manufactured and made of many fabrics such as cotton, silk or linen. Plastic face shields are also permitted.

Exceptions are granted to people who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, people for whom wearing a mask while at work would be unsafe, people who cannot remove a mask without assistance, children younger than 2 years of age and people attempting to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired and seeing the mouth is essential for communication. The order specifies that documentation is not necessary to prove that an exception applies.

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