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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 20, 2020 03:57 PM
From: Senator Art Haywood
To: All Senate members
Subject: Fining Individuals Who Refuse to Wear a Face Mask in Public
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to penalize individuals who recklessly expose others to COVID-19 by refusing to wear a face covering in public.

On 1 July 2020, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health issued an order requiring universal face coverings to protect the public from the spread of COVID-19. According to the order, “face coverings can decrease the spread of respiratory droplets from people.” Using face coverings in public is proven to reduce transmission and will prevent a resurgence of the virus, taxing our healthcare systems and the economy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently called for all Americans to wear face coverings. The CDC affirms they are one of the most powerful tools in the fight against COVID-19, emphasizing the protection individuals get from face coverings only occurs when others in the community universally wear them. In fact, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield advised, "If we all wore face coverings for the next four, six, eight, twelve weeks across the nation, this virus transmission would stop.”

The Commonwealth confirmed its first cases of COVID-19 in early March of this year. Today, we have over 101,000 positive cases and already lost over 7,000 family and friends to COVID-19. All Pennsylvanians have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. If we are going to stop the spread of this highly contagious and deadly disease, wearing face coverings in public must be enforceable.

My legislation will add failing to adhere to the face covering requirements of a declaration of disaster emergency to the crime of “recklessly endangering another person”, punishable as a misdemeanor of the second degree. Willfully exposing someone to another deadly disease already is a violation of our Crimes Code. Now is the time to act to protect those we love and those at risk from a senseless death.

Please join me in sponsoring this critical legislation.

Introduced as SB1287