Masks Now Required Indoors in State College, Students React
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. –– The State College Borough Council passed a temporary COVID-19 emergency ordinance on Monday, Sept. 13 that now requires masks to be worn indoors.
Prior to the passed ordinance, masks were required only in campus buildings, such as classrooms and libraries. Now, businesses and public facilities in the borough must require all employees, customers and visitors to wear masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
Anyone found in violation of the ordinance could receive a $300 fine.
The ordinance came as a result of the county experiencing “high” COVID-19 transmission rates, which classifies as more than 100 new cases per day per 100,000 people over the past seven days. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every county in Pennslyvania is currently experiencing “high” transmission.
The restrictions remain in place only while transmission in Centre County is “high,” but currently the ordinance is in effect through Monday, November 22.
Andrew Galvin, a Penn State student, shared his opinion.
“I think the mask mandate is pointless because I’m vaccinated,” Galvin said. “I will not follow the mandate.”
Jocelyn Millorino, a second-year student at Penn State, also shared her perspective.
“I think that we should either have a mandate for the vaccine or no masks altogether,” Millorino said. “We’re in an in-between-state right now and we have to be one or the other.”
Students and locals also took to social media when they heard the news of the new mask-wearing rules.
One source commented on Twitter, “State College businesses will not be getting any visits or money from me until that ridiculous ordinance goes away.”
One student questioned on Instagram, “So then why did I even bother getting the vaccine if nothing changed?”
Another source commented, “It’s just a mask, no major inconvenience.”
Currently, the vaccine is not mandated at Penn State, but 84.7 percent of students and 79.7 percent of employees at the University Park campus have been fully vaccinated, according to Penn State’s COVID-19 Dashboard. The on-campus positivity rate of COVID-19 cases over the last seven days is 1.3 percent, for students and employees combined.
Centre County’s vaccination rate is 54.4 percent.
State College’s Board of Health did not recommend further guidance on gathering size limits for businesses and public facilities.
Regardless of vaccination status, mask-wearing will be temporarily mandated indoors in State College.
Emma Aken is a second-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.