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Health Department implements travel, mask COVID-19 mitigation efforts

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced new COVID-19 mitigation efforts, including restrictions on coming into and out of the state as well as a more stringent mask wearing mandate.

Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine made the announcement in a 1 p.m. press conference.

Anyone coming into the state is to have a negative test within 72 hours before entering into Pennsylvania or “must quarantine for 14 once (they) arrive into our state,” Levine said.

Pennsylvanians returning into the state are required to follow the same rules. The requirement does not apply for those who commute into and out of the state for work and medical care.

What underlies this order? “We don’t want people to travel,” Levine said.

The order goes into effect on Friday, Nov. 20.

A more stringent mask order was also announced.

Levine said masks have been required indoors and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained but said the department is now ordering mask wearing indoors anytime one is with people outside of the household, even if they are socially distanced.

The order applies to gyms, schools and food preparation facilities though churches were not specifically included.

“Masks are a simple yet very effective way to limit your exposure to COVID-19,” Levine said. “We must all be diligent in wearing masks all the time.”

A full story will appear in Wednesday’s Times Observer.

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