The State College Borough Council voted 5-2 Friday to modify its COVID-19 ordinance to follow federal guidance and let fully vaccinated people go without masks indoors and outdoors.
Masking in public is still needed for those who aren’t vaccinated. Individual businesses can still require mask-wearing.
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control says everyone, regardless of vaccination status, still needs to wear masks in select locations, including in hospitals and on public transportation.
Someone who violates the borough’s ordinance can still face a $300 fine. State College has issued 150 citations to date.
Tom Daubert, the president of State College’s Board of Health, spoke out against the amendment because it would be hard to know if unmasked people are actually vaccinated.
“I know too many people that aren’t vaccinated that would not wear masks anyway, even though they’re supposed to,” Daubert said.
State College resident Karen Rhodes said she supported the amendment because it would help avoid discrimination against those who can’t wear masks but got vaccinated.
“This whole thing of getting vaccinated but requiring the mask still is going to result in a lot of bullying toward those like me who are disabled with breathing conditions,” she said.
Additionally, council voted to double gathering size limits to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors.
The Board of Health said it recommended the changes because previous restrictions clashed with new federal guidance and led to public confusion.
The borough’s modified ordinance will remain in effect until July 31, 2021, or until the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Centre Region Council of Governments rescind their emergency declarations.
Nearby College Township met Thursday night and voted to rescind its own COVID-19 ordinance. It will expire on May 31 – the same day Governor Tom Wolf will lift most of Pennsylvania’s restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
Correction: This story orginally misstated the new indoor gathering limit. It is 50 people.