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Pennsylvania: Businesses, Schools Can Still Require Masks

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Schools, businesses and other organizations in Pennsylvania may still require masks, even as the Wolf administration loosened its mask mandate to exempt people who are full vaccinated, the state Department of Health said Friday.

Pennsylvania adopted new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that said fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks in most places. But the state is leaving the ultimate decision to businesses and schools.

“If you are fully vaccinated, it is an incentive to be able to remove your mask, but businesses and workplaces may still require this added layer of protection for their employees or customers that may have underlying conditions that continue to make them vulnerable to this virus," Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said in a statement.

Pennsylvania's mandate that unvaccinated people continue to wear masks in public will remain in place until 70% of the adult population is vaccinated.

Businesses are already arriving at different policies for people who are fully vaccinated, or at least two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The Gerrity’s supermarket chain in northeastern Pennsylvania said it will no longer require customers and employees who are fully vaccinated to wear a face covering, though people who aren't must still wear them.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have tried to do our best with the information provided and this situation is no different," said Joe Fasula, co-owner of Gerrity’s. “However, there are no perfect answers. I hope people will understand the difficult position that all businesses are in."

Giant Eagle supermarkets, by contrast, said it would continue to require everyone to mask up.

Similarly, Knoebels Amusement Resort said Friday that while people who are fully vaccinated can go maskless outside, masks will still be required indoors. But Hersheypark said it won't require people are who fully vaccinated to wear them at all.

Associated Press