Pennsylvania officially lifts indoor face mask mandate

The Rocky statue is outfitted with a mock surgical face mask

In this April 14, 2020, file photo the Rocky statue is outfitted with a mock surgical face mask at the Philadelphia Art Museum in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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With daily COVID-19 case counts declining, Pennsylvania has officially lifted its universal face mask mandate. That means Pennsylvanians are no longer required to wear face masks indoors or outdoors.

Philadelphia, which operates independent of the state, lifted its indoor mask mandate on June 11.

Businesses still maintain the option of requiring employees, guests, or customers to wear face masks, health officials stressed.

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Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson on Friday said that, as residents shift to wearing masks less often, it is important to remain resilient in the fight against the coronavirus.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are the best tools we have to defeat COVID-19,” Johnson said. “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.”

Pennsylvania will continue to follow CDC guidance for wearing a mask where required by law.

The CDC requires individuals to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transit. People should also continue to follow mask guidance at workplaces, businesses, long-term care facilities, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear face masks in public, particularly given the growing prominence of the Delta variant. The mutant strain is expected to become predominant in the U.S. within weeks.

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Though the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use in the U.S. appear, in general, to provide significant protection against all variants, the Delta variant’s spread has raised concern among scientists due to the country’s large number of unvaccinated people.

In the U.S., 54% of all residents are partially vaccinated against COVID-19, with 46.1% fully vaccinated. As of Friday, 74.9% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, while 59.4% are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s how to sign up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania.

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