All Lancaster County employees and visitors to county buildings are to abide by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health's July 1 order to wear a mask, the county’s chief clerk said Tuesday.
The move marks a reversal from last month, when masks for staff and visitors at the 150 N. Queen St. county government building had been "strongly encouraged, but not required."
But last week Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed a new order requiring masks be worn "whenever anyone leaves home."
Chief Clerk Larry George emailed all county staff on Monday. and provided them with a copy of Levine’s order.
“[E]ffective immediately, all County employees and visitors to any County building are to be wearing protective masks covering the nose and mouth while on County property or engaged in County business,” George’s email said. “The only exceptions to this are circumstances in which an individual: is located in a private office; is in an 'open' office but sufficiently socially distanced from others; is subject to an overarching Administrative Judicial Order; or, is able to cite one of the other special exceptions as noted in the attached Department of Health Order.”
Masks were already required for visitors of the 50 N. Duke Street courthouse, per an order from President Judge David Ashworth.
Nate Wardle, spokesperson for the state Department of Health, said “the order does apply to individuals inside and outside of local government facilities, court houses, and other government buildings."
Last month the Department of Health said that local governments were not required to follow the state's orders, but should implement safe procedures as they saw fit, Maggi Mumma, deputy press secretary for the state Department of Health, told LNP | LancasterOnline.
In June there was disagreement among the commissioners regarding making face masks mandatory, with Democrat Commissioner Craig Lehman in favor and Republicans Parsons and Ray D'Agostino arguing there was not a legal basis for such a requirement and that the county could not deny services to an individual if they refused to wear a mask.