Today Governor Tom Wolf expanded Pennsylvania’s mask wearing order to make mandatory the use of face coverings in public settings.

Here’s an introduction straight from the commonwealth’s press release:

“Expanding on the business safety order signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine in April that requires the wearing of masks in businesses, Governor Tom Wolf today announced a new order signed by Dr. Levine that takes the mask-wearing directive one step further.

With this order, signed under Dr. Levine’s authority under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves home. The order takes effect immediately.

The guidelines are more specifically explained in the four-page order, which exists in PDF format on the state website.

Here’s section two, outlining when you are required to wear a mask:

The key line there for me is “outdoors and unable to maintain a distance of six feet,” which, thank merciful Jesus, adds some nuance and acknowledges the redundant nature of mask wearing. In more simple terms, if you’re not physically near anybody else, you shouldn’t need a mask. That means joggers covering their face without coming anywhere close to another human being, or bikers riding down the middle of a one-way street who are relatively far away from pedestrians.

And here’s section three, which provides limited exceptions to the order:

Yeah, again it’s about micro-level common sense here. We should wear the masks to the grocery store, pharmacy, and any indoor place where we’re going to be near other people, touching things, and unable to distance. We shouldn’t need to wear the masks when we’re grilling in our backyard by ourselves or walking the dog down the street or pulling weeds from the flower bed.

More than anything, if everybody just wears the fucking masks when necessary, we’ll get out of this faster.



It’s worth pointing out that this is impossible to enforce. They just want to signal to people that masks are important and try to get us in the habit of wearing them.