Tom Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf and Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam watch as Penn State Health vaccination clinic staff fill syringes of the COVID-19 vaccine April 16 at a Penn State Health vaccination clinic in Hershey.

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Gov. Tom Wolf's administration on Tuesday announced that COVID-19 mitigation orders, except for masking, will be lifted on Memorial Day, May 31. The current mask order will be lifted when 70% of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated.

The Associated Press reported that percentage stood at nearly 42% on Tuesday, according to federal data, while 63% of those 18 and older had at least one dose.

The decision was made with the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force, which includes members of the Legislature.

Until the mask order is lifted, face coverings will be required to be worn indoors and outdoors when away from home. In accordance with the latest Centers for Disease Control guidance, those who are fully vaccinated will not be required to wear a mask during certain activities, including visiting other fully vaccinated people, visiting unvaccinated people and children who are at low risk for COVID-19 and participating in outdoor activities.

“We continue to make significant progress in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 and as more Pennsylvania adults get vaccinated and guidance from the CDC evolves, we can continue to move forward with our reopening efforts,” Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam said. “I encourage Pennsylvanians to take the critical steps needed to put this pandemic behind us by getting vaccinated, follow through with both doses if you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, and continue to take steps like masking, frequent hand washing and sanitizing and social distancing.”

Requirements such as testing and reporting new cases will remain in place for hospitals and long-term care facilities. 

The Health Department said that municipalities and school districts can continue to impose their own restrictions. And other state mandates, including a requirement that hospitals and long-term care facilities report new infections, will remain.

Tuesday's announcement promised relief for the state's beleaguered restaurant industry, which has complained for months about capacity restrictions.

“The definitive timeline will allow owners and operators time to plan, but for far too many businesses who shuttered over the last few months, this announcement is too late,” said John Longstreet, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Email Naomi Creason at ncreason@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCreason

This article originally ran on cumberlink.com.

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