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Bellefonte Considers Masking, Social Distancing Ordinance

by and on September 06, 2020 4:45 AM
Bellefonte, PA

BELLEFONTE — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Bellefonte is considering a temporary emergency masking and social distancing ordinance that aims to “protect, preserve and promote the health, welfare and safety for the residents, employees and visitors of [the borough]."

The proposed ordinance will be up for consideration during the Sept 8. Borough Council meeting and if it is passed, Bellefonte will become the fifth Centre County municipality to have such a measure in place, joining State College Borough, and Ferguson, College and Patton townships.

The proposed ordinance states, “since COVID-19 poses a risk of incapacitation and death to those who contract the disease, the measures described herein are an attempt to reduce infection rates, minimize risk to the public health, and reduce pressure on healthcare providers and pharmaceutical supplies by lowering the rate and risk of infection.”

The proposed ordinance would require people to wear a mask while they are within 6 feet of other people when inside public buildings and spaces, while waiting in lines outside businesses and on public transportation.

Public buildings include grocery stores, pharmacies, business locations, home improvement stores, retail stores, service establishments, post offices, libraries, greenhouses and medical and dental treatment facilities, among others.

While waiting in line to enter a business, the ordinance requires people to maintain a physical distance of not less than 6 feet and to wear a face mask.

The proposed ordinance also limits the size of household gathering to 25 unrelated people.

Mask-wearing is required when coming into contact with any person who is not that person’s family or household member, whether indoors or outdoors, including contact during gatherings, curbside pickup, drive-thru and food-truck purchases, deliveries, and construction, repair and service calls.

Masks must be worn while working in all jobs that entail coming into contact with any member of the public, including all work involving the preparation or packaging of food and/or beverage unless separated by a physical barrier between the employee and the public.

Parents or guardians are responsible for ensuring that children 2 years of age or older wear face coverings unless such children are exempt.

Exceptions for the wearing of face coverings include people with medical or mental health conditions or disabilities, people who are hearing-impaired and people whose jobs would create a risk while wearing a mask.

The ordinance focuses on education first before enforcement in order to promote the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19.

It states that a person or business shall be notified of the provisions of the ordinance and will be provided an opportunity to explain an exception or follow guidelines before any citation is issued or other enforcement action taken.

Following a written warning, the ordinance allows for fines ranging from $50 to $300. Businesses not in compliance could face a fine of $100 to $400.

The complete ordinance can be viewed on the borough website,

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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