FACT CHECK: Is Pennsylvania Fining And Jailing People For Not Wearing Masks In Public?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook more than 29,000 times claims people in Pennsylvania that do not wear face masks in public face a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

Verdict: False

There is no such penalty for not wearing a mask in Pennsylvania.

Fact Check:

Gov. Tom Wolf said on April 3 that Pennsylvania residents should wear face coverings any time they leave their homes to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The announcement came the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally recommended Americans wear face coverings in public.

More than 29,000 Facebook users recently shared a post claiming people in Pennsylvania face a “$500 Fine and up to 6 Months in Jail if caught in public without mask.” It also claims the penalty went into effect on April 27. (RELATED: Did Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf Mandate Closures For Schools And Workplaces?)

But, like many of the claims making the rounds on social media amid the pandemic, there is no truth to it. The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends wearing a mask in certain situations, like while shopping at essential businesses or while using public transportation. The Daily Caller News Foundation found no evidence to suggest that those who do not follow the recommendation will be fined or jailed.

“That post is incorrect,” Nate Wardle, press secretary for Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, confirmed in an email to the DCNF. “There is no fine or jail time for not wearing a mask.”

Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order was extended statewide on April 1, requiring all residents to remain in their homes except for essential purposes. Wolf recently announced that 24 of the state’s 67 counties will begin to roll back restrictions starting May 8, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As of midday May 5, Pennsylvania has more than 50,900 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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