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Pa. Following New CDC Guidance; Masks No Longer Required in Most Places for Fully Vaccinated People

Correction: A previous version of this story stated Patton Township had its own provisions in effect for indoor masking. The township enacted changes to its ordinance on April 28 to follow CDC and Department of Health guidance.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday updated its mask order to reflect new Centers for Disease Control guidance that says individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear face coverings or practice social distancing in most places — indoors or outdoors.

The CDC handed down the new guidance earlier in the day. According to the health department, the new guidelines go into effect in Pennsylvania immediately.

“Today’s guidance from the CDC affects only people who are fully vaccinated” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said in a statement. “This is another incentive to get the vaccine that is now easily and conveniently available. Once 70 percent of Pennsylvanians over 18 are fully vaccinated, we can completely lift the masking order.”

Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week that most statewide COVID-19 mitigation orders will be lifted on May 31, with the exception of the mask mandate, which would remain in effect until 70% of the state’s adults are vaccinated.

The new CDC guidance does require masks to be worn in some circumstances, regardless of vaccination status. Those include in doctor’s offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, homeless shelters and prisons and on airplanes, buses and other public transportation.

Masks still can be required by local regulations or by businesses.

In Centre County, State College and College, Ferguson and Patton townships each have local COVID-19 ordinances, which include provisions for masking and gathering sizes.

While State College’s was updated this week to follow current DOH orders for outdoor masking, it still contains requirements for wearing masks indoors in most places open to the public regardless of vaccination status, with some exceptions.

Ferguson Township’s ordinances contains similar provisions, while College and Patton townships updated theirs in April to simply follow current DOH orders on masking.