On July 1st, 2020 the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health issued a new order expanding the existing mask wearing requirements of the state.  While this was reported as requiring that masks be worn any time you leave your house, in fact, the order is more limited in scope.

Under this order masks are mandatory in any situation where consistent social distancing is not possible.  It applies both indoor and outdoors.  Therefore, in any indoor setting where the public is generally permitted, masks must be worn, and in any outdoor setting in which it is expected that individuals outside your own household will be within six feet of you, masks must also be worn.  For indoor activities, this is consistent with the state’s previous guidance, so the practical change is that masks must be now worn outdoors in a greater number of situations.

Children under the age of two and individuals with disabilities that preclude mask wearing are exempt from the order.  No documentation of such disability is required.

Municipalities will be charged with enforcement of said order, however, at this time no guidance regarding enforcement has been given, and no authority for citations has been issued.  The most important immediate impact of this order on municipalities and school districts regards the use of municipal or district property.  Municipalities and school districts should ensure that any organized group utilizing their facilities have signed mandatory policies in place that will comply with this order, and all participants should be required to sign waivers of liability that specifically state that they will comply with mask wearing requirements.  Consult your Solicitor to determine if your existing policies and waivers must be updated with the new order.

For general municipal or district properties such as parks and playgrounds, the municipality or school district should maintain adequate signage that states that the users are to comply with all relevant orders and directives and use the facilities at their own risk.

It is also worth noting that this order specifically defines face coverings and includes any kind of synthetic or natural fiber, including scarfs bandanas or t-shirts, sweatshirts or towels as well as plastic face shields that cover the nose and mouth, as acceptable face coverings.

Christina L. Lane
Christina L. Lane

Christina Lane is an accomplished school, municipal, labor and employment attorney representing public sector employers. She has extensive knowledge and experience with Title IX and often serves as a third-party investigator.