Pennsylvania Lifting Coronavirus Orders May 31, Mask Mandate Will Remain in Place Until More Vaccinated

Pennsylvania Lifting Coronavirus Orders May 31, Mask Mandate Will Remain in Place Until More Vaccinated

Pennsylvania will lift its remaining coronavirus restrictions on May 31, but a statewide mask mandate will remain in place until more Pennsylvanians are vaccinated, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced this week.

“Effective May 31, we are lifting COVID mitigation orders,” Wolf announced, explaining the mask order will only be lifted once 70 percent of Pennsylvania adults are “fully vaccinated”:

Effective May 31, we are lifting COVID mitigation orders.

The masking order will be lifted when 70% of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated.

Help us lift the ​masking order sooner. Find a vaccine appointment near you: https://t.co/4UeI1Bx6rO. pic.twitter.com/o2vebK3lot

— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) May 4, 2021

According to Pennsylvania’s vaccine dashboard, 8.7 million in the state are “fully vaccinated.”

Wolf implemented some of the most stringent lockdown orders in the country throughout the pandemic — shuttering businesses, threatening to impose fines, and urging residents to refrain from private gatherings outside of their own households. These rules were not just in place at the beginning of the pandemic, either. Prior to Thanksgiving, Wolf cracked down even further, with his administration warning that law enforcement would be “stepping up enforcement efforts, issuing citations and fines, and possibly regulatory actions for repeat offenders.”

His severe orders prompted protests last May, as residents and business owners took to the streets, accusing the governor of acting like a dictator.

While the state is lifting restrictions, Philadelphia 10 reports the state will allow local municipalities and school districts to “have the option to continue with their own restrictions.” The position is dramatically different than the action taken by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who recently suspended all local emergency orders, further prioritizing the personal freedom of residents across his state.

Notably, Florida, which never had a statewide mask mandate in place, continues to report fewer new cases of the virus per capita than Wolf’s Pennsylvania. In the last seven days, Florida reported 154.4 cases per 100,000, compared to 173 per 100,000 in the Keystone State.

Hannah Bleau