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State College’s COVID-19 Ordinance Rescinded

Ten months after its introduction, State College’s COVID-19 emergency ordinance is no longer in effect, according to the borough.

The ordinance was set to remain in effect until July 31 or until the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s emergency declaration was rescinded, whichever came first.

In May’s primary election, voters approved a state constitution amendment giving the General Assembly authority to extend or terminate a governor’s emergency declaration after 21 days. Following passage of House Resolution 106 to terminate the declaration and certification of the election on Tuesday, Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 emergency declaration came to an end.

On May 21, the State College Borough Council voted 5-2 to amend the ordinance to follow loosened mask-wearing guidelines that let fully vaccinated people ditch face coverings in most settings. Unvaccinated people are still required to wear masks indoors, but that’s practically impossible to actually enforce.

Despite the end of the state’s emergency declaration, the mask mandate for unvaccinated individuals remains in effect until June 28. Masks also are required regardless of vaccination status in certain places, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities and public transportation.

The only restrictions in the borough’s ordinance that remained and could still be practically enforced were limits on gathering sizes. Before the measures were repealed, indoor gatherings on residential properties were capped at 50 people, while outdoor gatherings on residential and municipal properties were capped at 100 people.

The borough’s ordinance was first introduced in August 2020. It originally required mask-wearing in State College, enforced social distancing, placed restrictions on gathering sizes, and prevented businesses from having waiting lines of more than 10 people on public sidewalks.

Those who violated the ordinance could have faced $300 fines, plus any additional court costs. The borough had filed at least 150 citations for violation of the ordinance and issued 220 warnings.

State College was the last Centre County municipality with local COVID-19 regulations in effect. College, Ferguson and Patton townships all previously repealed their temporary ordinances.

StateCollege.com’s Geoff Rushton contributed to this report.