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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 5, 2021 12:06 PM
From: Senator Art Haywood
To: All Senate members
Subject: Fines for Not Following a Mask Order
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, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington projects that we could save nearly 130,000 American lives if 95% of the population wore a mask.
The Commonwealth confirmed its first cases of COVID-19 in early March of this year. Today, we total over 673,915 positive cases and have already lost over 16,546 family and friends to COVID-19. All Pennsylvanians have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. To stop the spread of this highly contagious and deadly disease, wearing face coverings in public must be enforceable.
We adopted 18 Pa. C.S. § 5902 to stop the reckless exposure of HIV/AIDS.  Similarly, my legislation is intended to stop the reckless exposure to COVID-19.  Failing to adhere to the face covering requirements of a disaster emergency will result in a summary offense with a fine up to $5,000. Now is the time to act to require that we stop the reckless spread of COVID-19.
Please join me in sponsoring this critical legislation.