Kenyatta calls for statewide mask requirement in new bill as COVID-19 cases surge

HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – Charging that more must be done in the wake of surging COVID-19 cases, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta has introduced legislation that would implement one of the most effective strategies at reducing its spread—a statewide mask requirement in all public spaces to be enforced by non-law enforcement entities.

“Countless medical reports and public health experts have pointed to the effectiveness of masks—properly covering the nose and mouth—to both the wearer and people in the wearer’s proximity,” said Kenyatta, D-Phila. “Nearly 10,000 Pennsylvanians, including our most vulnerable neighbors, have succumbed to this deadly virus so far. Being a good neighbor by wearing a mask is by far the best act of benevolence we can all take to keep our communities safe.”

Reiterating his call for action, Kenyatta highlighted those most at risk such as the essential workers and caregivers risking their health and safety to ensure no community lacks vital necessities, the small business owners and local economies suffering from the impact of this virus, and the families struggling with the mounting pressure of financial insecurities as the reality of a utility shut-off, eviction or food scarcity during the upcoming winter months.

“We can’t adequately protect lives and work towards a sound revival of our economy without first getting control of this virus through better, more intentional measures,” he said. “As cases continue to rise and over a quarter of a million lives lost nationwide, there can be no meaningful progress if we don’t deliberately act. Our commonwealth has no choice but to move forward with a statewide mask requirement in all public spaces.”