HARRISBURG – Senator Scott Martin (R-13) released the following statement today in response to the Department of Health’s new masking mandates and local concerns about how they apply to athletes while they are engaged in competing:
“Like many of the Wolf Administration’s mandates during COVID-19, the new masking requirement lacks clarity and has created a great deal of confusion. After months of professional, collegiate, high school, and youth sports operating safely and responsibly with local control, some since June, it is troubling that we are returning to an environment in which the Department of Health is applying one-size-fits-all mandates to our communities without consulting with local officials, lawmakers, parents, athletes or anyone else outside of their own echo chamber.
“The fact that these requirements apply to high school, collegiate and youth sports, but not professional sports, is equally puzzling. There is no data that I am aware of that says high school football players are more likely to spread COVID-19 than athletes playing the same sport in the NFL. In fact, the data suggests the opposite: while a few NFL games have gone on in spite of positive COVID-19 tests, local officials have responsibly rescheduled or cancelled games in which there were concerns about the spread of the virus.
“The masking requirement could also pose a safety concern for student athletes who have certain health conditions, could impair their breathing or interfere with their equipment, or the potential risk of other injuries. To my knowledge, there has been no guidance from the Wolf Administration on that issue.
“The fact that we have a mask mandate in place that exempts pro athletes, but applies to high school swimmers while they are in the pool is just another example of the Wolf Administration’s inconsistent, not well-thought out approach to COVID-19 mitigation. I am calling on the Wolf Administration to carefully revise its guidance and restore the principle of local control so our student athletes, coaches and parents can have faith in the information they are being given. They can start by timely answering the inquiries of the PIAA and working with others locally or in the General Assembly.”
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535