Residents in Pennsylvania may be asking Santa Claus for thick curtains for Christmas this year after the state’s latest round of coronavirus orders.
Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s secretary of health, announced that residents and visitors of the state must wear masks any time they are away from their homes and even, at times, while they are inside their homes.
The order reads, “When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from members not in your household. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household.”
The state said it recorded 6,339 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. There were 2,737 patients in the state in hospitals.
The paper reported that new shutdowns in Philadelphia could mean a “year without Christmas” for the city’s small businesses.
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Stephen Mullin, principal at Econsult Solutions, told the paper that millions could be affected in the city and he said he “we’ll see unemployment bouncing up significantly again.”
It was unclear how the state could enforce such a mandate without sending officers to knock on doors or monitor entire neighborhoods. Critics of these orders have said state leaders would continue their power grab until there is appropriate pushback.
Gov. Tom Wolf, the state’s Democrat, issued a statement on Monday that the surge in coronavirus cases in the fall was something that he has be planning for and said the state is prepared.
“But as I’ve said many times, the virus goes where it wants, we must do all that we can to ward it off and protect ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and our health care systems,” he said.
The move by the state to put orders in place about what residents can do while inside their own homes was met with mockery and some disbelief on social media.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed in the 2018 Parkland school shooting, posted on Twitter, “The same party that claims they would never confiscate the guns of law-abiding Americans is trying to force people to wear masks in their own homes.”
Dean Browning, the former Lehigh County commissioner, tweeted, “I’m not wearing a mask in my own home because Tom Wolf tells me to. No.”