What are the penalties in PA for non-compliance of face coverings / masks?
As the Covid-19 pandemic roars on, mask requirements and laws enforcing masks to be worn outside and in public places are becoming more stringent and prevalent.
Currently, there is a Covid-19 order that states any person outside of their home that will come within six feet of contact of another person, is required to wear a mask, including on the street and inside all businesses.
In addition, even when inside your own home, you are required to wear a mask when people other than household members are present.
People who fail to comply with the mask requirement may be issued a citation and fined between $25 and $300 dollars.
This is true for any of the orders issued by Governor Wolf, which are enforceable as a disease control measure under the Disease Prevention and Control Law. Citations may be written under the Administrative Code of 1929 71 P. S. § 1409 and/or the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 35 P.S. § 521.20(a).
In addition, there is currently a bill being considered by Pennsylvania Senate lawmakers (Senate Bill 1287) that could make non-compliance of a mask a misdemeanor, which could include additional fines and criminal charges.
Business and Non-compliance of Mask Wearing in Pennsylvania
While businesses may ask a person to leave the premises if they are not complying with mask requirements, businesses themselves may be subject to investigation if they are found to not be in compliance of mask enforcement of either their employees or their patrons.
If a business does not comply with enforcing that patrons or employees wear a mask or face covering, people are encouraged to contact local law enforcement or to submit a complaint form to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
If the business is suspected of not complying with PA Department of Health and CDC guidelines, the health department will make unannounced inspections and a license revocation could be issued. Different counties may apply different measures. In addition, the businesses are also subject to a citation between $25-$300 dollars.
Enforcement agencies include the Pennsylvania State Police, local law enforcement, the departments of Agriculture and State, the PA Department of Health, as well as the PA Liquor Control Board.
Are There Exceptions to the Face Mask Requirement?
The only people and situations exempt from this rule include the following:
- A person under the age of 2;
- A person traveling in their vehicle alone or in a public space in a private room;
- If there is an emergency situation and the person did not have time/means to put on a mask;
- A person with a health-related or physical issues that would prevent them from wearing a mask, such as a hearing/speaking impairment;
- A person in a medical situation where a face covering would impede care, such as in a dentist office;
- If your job puts you in a safety risk for wearing a mask.
Additional Information on Covid-19 Laws in Pennsylvania and Resources:
- Covid-19 Restaurant Enforcement
- For answers to questions about businesses and masks, see the PA Business FAQ page
- For the latest updates to Covid restrictions in Pennsylvania, see the PA Covid Guide