UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The State College Borough Council passed a temporary ordinance, supported by Penn State, on Tuesday, Aug. 4, that mandates mask wearing and social distancing in most instances and limits the size of gatherings in the borough, directly adjacent to the University Park campus.
“This is a strong ordinance and I’m very pleased that borough council has taken this solid stance in support of the health of the State College and Penn State community,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron, who wrote a letter to the borough council backing the strongest possible version of the ordinance. “The safety provisions and enforcement in the borough ordinance align with the policies, procedures and enforcement mechanisms we are putting in place at Penn State. We must enforce simple public health measures to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus if we are to be successful in bringing our students, faculty and staff back to our campuses this fall.”
Largely in line with the directives of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Gov. Tom Wolf’s guidance, the ordinance requires individuals to wear face masks, with some exceptions, in most public spaces and businesses that serve the public where social distancing of six feet is not possible. It limits gatherings to no more than 10 people in a residence and no more than 25 in State College parks and other borough properties. The new law also mandates social distancing while waiting in lines in the public right-of-way and limits the number of people waiting in lines to enter a business to 10 individuals.
Anyone who violates the ordinance is subject to a citation for a civil infraction and a fine of $300.
“This is a great example of town and gown coming together for the greater good and well-being of our local community,” said Zack Moore, Penn State’s vice president for Government and Community Relations. “With this ordinance, safe behavior and preventative measures are now required both on and off the University Park campus. I strongly urge the local municipalities adjacent to all Penn State campuses to adopt similar laws in support of public health during this pandemic.”
Moore and his colleagues in Government and Community Relations are talking with other municipalities in the Centre Region, encouraging the adoption of similar ordinances that would enforce mask wearing, social distancing and gathering limitations.
The State College ordinance is effective immediately and currently runs through Jan. 31, 2021, or until the Centre Region Council of Governments and the state Department of Health rescind their emergency declarations, whichever comes earlier.