Pennsylvania officials spoke out on Tuesday to announce a series of new COVID-19 rules that include mandating that people wear masks inside their private homes.
“Strengthening masking order,” the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced. “Masks are still required. Indoors: masks now required anytime you’re with people outside of your household, even if you’re socially distant. Applies to all indoor facilities + if you have people in your home not part of your household.”
The state also issued new orders for anyone visiting Pennsylvania from out of state.
“Issuing order requiring anyone who visits PA from another state to get tested w/in 72 hours before entering PA,” officials said. “Pa’ians who traveled to other states must follow same rules when coming home. Does not apply to those who commute to/from another state for work or medical treatment.”
▪️ Strengthening masking order. Masks are still required. Indoors: masks now required anytime you’re with people outside of your household, even if you’re socially distant. Applies to all indoor facilities + if you have people in your home not part of your household
— PA Department of Health (@PAHealthDept) November 17, 2020
Pennsylvania had already had a statewide mask mandate in public places, limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, and also restrictions for the number of people that can be in bars and restaurants, according to Fox News.
The new rules take this a step further, however, as people are now being mandated to wear masks anywhere outside where it isn’t possible to maintain at least a six-foot distance from others. They also must wear masks inside when individuals from multiple households are gathering, even if they are able to maintain a social distance.
Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s state health secretary, has since admitted that officials are relying on voluntary compliance rather than on enforcement, according to the Associated Press. She added that how Pennsylvania fares in this pandemic over the next few weeks will depend on people’s willingness to wear masks and stay away from each other.
“In the end, people will have the consequences of their actions as well as their families and their communities, and if they do not wear masks, if they do not social distance, then those communities are going to see even more spread of COVID-19,” she said.
Levine also ominously would not rule out additional measures.
“Whether we have to do anything else really depends upon you. It depends upon the public, each one of us taking our responsibility for the common good of everyone in Pennsylvania,” Levine said. “And if we all do our part, and we stand united, then we might not need any further mitigation measures.”