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Department of Health: Pa. businesses continue to maintain option to require masks
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Department of Health: Pa. businesses continue to maintain option to require masks

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Virus Outbreak US

Although no longer required outside, a sign advises visitors to wear masks at the Denver Zoo in Colorado. 

In a move to send the country back toward pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a news release Friday clarifying that a business or organization, such as a school, can still require masks for residents, including those who are fully vaccinated.

The department followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's announcement Thursday that says anyone who is fully vaccinated no longer is required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors.

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“By getting vaccinated with one of the three safe and effective vaccines, you are adding the best layer of protection for yourself and others,” acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “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. We ask that Pennsylvanians continue to be kind and respectful to each other as we continue to fight COVID-19 in our communities and continue to get residents vaccinated.”

The CDC guidance states that fully vaccinated people — two weeks after their final dose — can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by law, rule and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. Under the guidance, people are still being required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. In addition, everyone should follow guidance at workplaces, local businesses, long-term care facilities, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

The secretary of Health’s universal face covering order remains in effect and unvaccinated people, including children, must still comply with the order. Once 70% of Pennsylvanians over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated, Pennsylvania will lift the masking order. As of Friday, 47.4% of adults 18 and older are fully vaccinated in Pennsylvania, according to the CDC vaccine tracker.

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