Can Pennsylvania reissue the mask mandate?

Coronavirus

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s been less than a week since Pennsylvania officially lifted its universal mask mandate. But can state leaders reissue that order?

The simple answer is yes — but there’s more you should know.

You may be wondering why the state would reverse its order. Turns out there may be more than one reason.

The now spreading Delta variant, which has been detected in all 50 states, is prompting some state and local leaders to encourage non-vaccinated and fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors. In Pennsylvania, some public transportation services like airports, still require the use of a mask.

The approaching fourth of July holiday weekend may also be a driving factor for the rise in infections.

The Commonwealth was no stranger to COVID surges following the major holidays. In the early months of 2021, positive COVID-19 cases and deaths leaped to all-time highs before falling later in the year.

In response, the Pennsylvania Department of Health Communications Office said, “In the interest of protecting public health, the Department of Health has the authority to issue disease control measures, it believes to be appropriate, given the circumstances.”

The question was raised after Pennsylvania voted yes to limiting the governor’s emergency powers and the Senate voted to end Governor Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration orders.

Though, the moves still ensured Pennsylvania could take necessary steps to recover, according to Senator Ryan Aument (R-36), who supported the measures.

The Department of Health later added, “It is important to note that any such measure would be based on the advice of public health experts in the Department and the approval of the Governor’s Office.”

According to the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955, a disease that’s subject to isolation or quarantine — like COVID-19 — could be considered for “appropriate control measures” by the Department of Health, leaving the possibility open if there is a resurgence in cases.

As of June 28, some exceptions remain in Pennsylvania’s revised mask mandate. The Federal Government continues to require passengers traveling through airports to wear masks.

And Acting Secretary of Health, Alison Beam said, “Even though the universal masking order will be lifted, 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.”

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