HARRISBURG (KDKA) – The Pennsylvania Health Department says businesses can still require people to wear masks, even after the CDC gave fully vaccinated people the green light to go maskless in most cases.
“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,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said in a press release.READ MORE: CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Go Maskless In Most Places, But Some Businesses Still Require It
“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’s guidance, released Thursday and adopted by the state, allows fully vaccinated people to go maskless in most cases. The guidance recommends wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like public transportation, hospitals and homeless shelters. It allows people to go outside safely without masks, even in crowds.
“I carry it around because I’m never quite sure. Do they want me to wear it in the store or not?” said Don Martello of Squirrel Hill.
The state and the CDC say it’s simple: fully vaccinated individuals “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.”
If you’re vaccinated, that means you’re good to go indoors and out except where you’re told not to. Giant Eagle, for instance, is still requiring masks for employees and customers. Most theaters and restaurants KDKA saw aren’t lifting the restrictions just yet.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Adopts CDC’s Relaxed Mask-Wearing Guidelines For Those Fully Vaccinated
“I think for the next two or three weeks we’re going to keep the same policy until we’re sure the CDC is right in what they’re saying,” said deli owner Jeff Cohen.
Unvaccinated people are urged to keep wearing them — even indoors — like Lisa Duffy and her daughter Erin who haven’t yet gotten their second shot.
“It’s the honor system,” Duffy said.
There will be little or no enforcement of the measures and so health experts say these decisions will largely be left up to you.
“So part of the challenge is that public health is going from being very prescriptive and telling us exactly what to do to saying, ‘ok you’re now going to decide on your own how much risk you’re willing to accept,'” said UPMC’s Dr. Graham Snyder.
Those health experts say the risk of infection is very low for people who have been fully vaccinated but there is still some risk.MORE NEWS: CDC Eases Guidance On Indoor Mask-Wearing For Those Fully Vaccinated
The Department of Health says masks are still required for people who aren’t vaccinated until 70 percent of the state’s adults are vaccinated. As of Friday 47.3% of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are considered fully vaccinated.