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State College council votes to require masks inside State College businesses, offices

Penn State students wear masks while walking on a brick sidewalk in downtown State College.
Min Xian/WPSU
In this file photo, Penn State students wear masks while walking on East College Avenue in State College. The borough council voted Sept. 13, 2021, to require masking inside businesses open to the public.

Pointing to a rising number of COVID-19 cases, State College Borough Council unanimously approved an ordinance Monday night requiring masks to be worn inside public buildings.

The ordinance applies to grocery stores, retail shops, municipal buildings and doctors’ offices — anywhere inside and open to the public — regardless of a person's vaccination status. It’s in keeping with CDC guidelines and Centre County having “high community transmission.”

The county has seen an increase in cases since the start of fall semester at Penn State.

“There is no reason people should be put at risk because of the inconvenience of wearing a mask, which is slight," said Council member Peter Marshall.

Council heard from a few Penn State students opposed to the ordinance, and a few residents who support it.

Council member Theresa Lafer shot back at critics of the ordinance, saying it’s what people do when they are part of a community.

“We know that the Delta virus is extremely contagious, and we know that our children or grandchildren or neighbors are not all protected from it," Lafer said. "So to say ‘I want the freedom to not have a mask on my face,' is childish, selfish and just bad citizenship."

The ordinance took effect immediately and lasts until Nov. 22.

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities.