No mask mandate, but Pennsylvanians urged to follow guidance

Edna Cruz makes coffee while wearing a mask inside her cafe

Edna Cruz makes coffee at her store Nook Bakery & Coffee Bar in Philadelphia, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday that he is not considering a statewide mask mandate as coronavirus cases surge in Pennsylvania and across the country, while his administration said it is not requiring masks in schools.

Wolf, speaking on KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh, said his strategy to fight the spread of COVID-19 has been the vaccine, and will continue to be. The masking mandate was for when there was no vaccine, Wolf said.

“People have the ability, each individual to make the decision to get a vaccine,” Wolf said. “If they do, that’s the protection.”

Wolf’s comments came just before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges.

Citing new information about the variant’s ability to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.

Wolf’s administration also said it is not considering mandating masks in K-12.

However, it said it is recommending that Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania schools follow federal guidance on mask-wearing.

Get the WHYY app!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal