State lifts masking mandate

Vector color chalk drawn illustration of medical mask on black chalkboard background.

Although Pennsylvania did not make the 70% full vaccination rate (just under 75% have had at least one shot), the commonwealth lifted most mask mandates, effective Monday — although there many locations where Chester Countians will still be asked to wear a mask to battle COVID.

“We are continuing to make progress toward stopping the spread of COVID-19 throughout the commonwealth, as many Pennsylvanians have taken responsibility for their own health and the health of their communities by getting vaccinated,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said in a statement Friday. “Even though the universal masking order will be lifted in a few days, businesses, organizations, health care providers and other entities maintain the option of requiring employees, guests or customers to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status.”

Masks are still required on public modes of transportation such as buses and airplanes. And those not fully vaccinated are still recommended to wear masks in public. Businesses are still allowed to require masking at their discretion.

Although Pennsylvania — and Chester County, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the entire country — has seen massive declines in the number of new case of COVID-19, concerns remain about new, virulent strains of the virus that are spreading worldwide and in pockets of the United States with low vaccination rates. Those fully vaccinated are reported to have fairly high resistance to the new strain — and even if infected would not likely get gravely ill. But as the new strains spread more easily and are thought to be more deadly for those without vaccination, health officials warn that the pandemic is not over.

“As we shift to wearing masks less often, it is important to remain resilient in the fight against COVID-19, just as we have done together over the last year and a half,” Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “The COVID-19 vaccines are the best tools we have to defeat COVID-19. Pennsylvanians are aware of this and have been getting vaccinated. If you have not already been vaccinated, there are plenty of options available near you. Getting as many Pennsylvanians vaccinated as possible will offer more protection against the virus for everyone and is the fastest and safest way for us to return to our normal activities.”




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