CDC Guidance on Face Masks with Valves/Vents, Face Shields and Neck Gaiters - August 24

Pennsylvania: Face Coverings (Over the Mouth & Nose) are Required UNLESS Social Distancing Can Be Maintained - July 5

Pennsylvania: Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings - July 1

Universal Face Coverings Order FAQ

Bottom Line for Employees:

Employees who are not able to consistently maintain social distancing of at least six (6) feet apart from others are required to wear face masks while working, while on breaks and whether working indoors or outdoors. 

Masks with exhalation valves or vents may NOT be worn.

Face shields are NOT permitted as a substitute for face masks.

Neck gaiters made of thin, stretchy material that can be worn around the neck and pulled up when needed may NOT be worn unless they are made of double layered materials and fit snugly with no gaps.

Employees are required to wear face coverings unless wearing a face covering would create an unsafe condition in which to operate or execute a task.


Accordingly, on this date, July 1, 2020, to protect the public from the spread of COVID- 19, I hereby order:

Section 1:        Face Coverings Defined

 "Face covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A "face covering" can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. For purposes of this order, a face covering includes a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth. "Face coverings" may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or be improvised from household items, including but not limited to, scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. While procedural and surgical masks intended for healthcare providers and first responders meet these requirements, such as N95 respirators, these specialized masks should be reserved for appropriate occupational and health care settings.

Section 2:        Face Coverings Required

Except as provided in Section 3, individuals are required to wear face coverings if they are:

A. outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household;

B. in any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted;

C. waiting for, riding on, driving, or operating public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle;

D. obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank; or

E. engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when interacting in-person with any member of the public, working in any space visited by members of the public, working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, working in or walking through common areas, or in any room or enclosed area where other people, except for members of the person's own household or residence, are present wheri unable to physically distance.


Section 3:        Exceptions to Face Covering Requirement

The following are exceptions to the face covering requirement in Section 2:

A. Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, including those with respiratory issues that impede breathing, mental health condition, or disability;

B. Individuals for whom wearing a mask while working would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task as determined  by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;

C. Individuals who would be unable to remove a mask without assistance;

D. Individuals who are under two years of age;

E. Individuals who are communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired or has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;

F. Individuals are not required to show documentation that an exception applies.

CDC: Face Coverings Use - Updated May 23

Illustration of people wearing cloth face masks

Your cloth face covering may protect them. Their cloth face covering may protect you.


CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States.  We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.