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State Employees Must Mask At Work, Regardless Of Vaccination Status

State employees and contractors will be required to wear face masks at work, starting Monday.

The face mask policy only applies to workers within state departments and agencies directly under Gov. Tom Wolf’s jurisdiction, and therefore excludes the state’s legislature and judicial branches.

State workers can remove their masks when they are alone at their work stations, driving alone, while eating or drinking, or if wearing the face covering creates unsafe conditions.

In the internal memo announcing the new policy, the Pennsylvania Office of Administration cited COVID-19 safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which advise that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks while indoors.

People who become seriously ill with COVID-19 are overwhelmingly unvaccinated, though more mild “breakthrough” cases caused by the highly infectious delta variant can occur among those who received the immunization.

State data show that in June, Pennsylvania was regularly seeing under 200 new coronavirus cases a day. Now it’s over 2,500. In the past month, hospitalizations have increased by more than 400%. There are now nearly 1,500 Pennsylvanians in the hospital with the disease.

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.
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