Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam announced that the department has updated its mask guidance to reflect the announcement made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Today’s CDC announcement allows those who are fully vaccinated the opportunity to spend time outdoors, in some situations, without wearing a mask,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “This is both welcomed and exciting news for individuals who are fully vaccinated and are at a significantly lower risk to serious illness from COVID-19. However, those who are not vaccinated will still need to wear a mask in most situations, and those who are fully vaccinated should still wear a mask when in crowded spaces.”
The CDC provided information today about activities that fully vaccinated people can do, including:
- Visiting with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
- Visiting with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
- Participating in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues.
- Resuming domestic travel and refraining from testing before or after travel, or self-quarantine after travel.
- Refraining from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refraining from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
- Refraining from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings.
- Refraining from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic.
- Refraining from routine COVID-19 testing if asymptomatic and if feasible.
However, for now, fully vaccinated people are still advised to continue to:
- Take precautions like wearing a well-fitted mask in indoor public settings.
- Wear masks that fit snuggly when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
- Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people from multiple households.
- Avoid indoor large-sized, in-person gatherings.
- Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Follow guidance issued by individual employers.
- Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.
Additional guidance for those who are fully vaccinated is available on the CDC website.
“Today’s announcement underscores the importance of getting vaccinated to protect yourself from COVID-19,” said Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson. “It is important that people who have compromised immune systems consult with their physician as to whether they may need to continue to wear a mask in some of these situations.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s masking order from March 2021 incorporates CDC masking guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, including this guidance.
The Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient. To keep Pennsylvanians informed about vaccination efforts:
- All Pennsylvanians age 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. The provider map is available here.
- A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
- Vaccine provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
- All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.
- Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.
- The Unite Against COVID Weekly Update is a round-up of news you can use and answers to your most pressing vaccine questions – delivered directly to your inbox every week.
- Pennsylvanians can provide feedback on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan by clicking on the Plan Feedback Form square under Popular Vaccine Topics here.
- Frequently asked questions can be found here.
The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently.
- Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
- If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
- Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.