PA Employers: Here are the latest requirements
By Christina M. Reger, Esq.
So in case you were busy, planning and then re-planning your turkey day celebrations, here is a summary of what you missed regarding the latest regulations for employers in the Commonwealth.
Well, we all know that the cases are rising — that is not news, right? But, because cases are rising, there has been some new requirements.
- Business Operations. On Monday, the Governor issued this order that significantly impacts business operations from masks, to temperature checks, to cleaning, to ventilation to signage. It requires mandatory teleworking unless impossible. It is a MUST READ for all business owners. Violations to this order (for the multi-offender) include shutdown of your business. A similar order from the Department of Health (Dr. Levine) was also issued.
- Travel Restrictions. Last week, Dr. Levine issued an order requiring anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth. Anyone who cannot or chooses to not get a test must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. This order does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment. Employers it may be a good idea to provide a letter on company letterhead for those employees that must cross the borders for work purposes.
- Masking Order Updated. Dr. Levine also revised the mask order to require masks indoors under all circumstances — even if you can maintain 6 feet distance (except your own household) and outdoors where you cannot maintain a 6 foot distance.
- Philadelphia issued new Safer at Home restrictions effective November 20 – January 1 which prohibits the following business activities: in person high school and colleges, indoor dining, theaters, bowling alleys, museums, libraries, casinos, gyms, indoor pools, senior day centers, recreational activities and sports for youths and community groups. Gathering are limited to one household. Other limitations are also detailed in the order, a summary of which can be found here. City of Philadelphia restrictions, limitations and resources can be found on this page.
- A multistate agreement for students (and parents) of college students. A conglomeration of Governor’s across the northeast ( DE, CT. MA, NJ, NY, PA, RI) are encouraging colleges and universities in their respective states to provide testing for all students traveling home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Any student who tests positive will be asked to quarantine before traveling and communicate with their respective Department of Health regarding travel arrangements. The are also asking these institutions to make or keep classes online between Thanksgiving and winter break. Recommendations issued by Pennsylvania can be found here.
- Lastly, this handy table regarding additional mitigation measures implemented by the state. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t paste the table here, but I copied it and provided the link. You’re welcome.
Business, Work, School, Child Care, and Congregate Settings
- Child care may open, complying with guidance
- Congregate care restrictions in place
- Prison and hospital restrictions determined by individual facilities
- Schools subject to CDC and commonwealth guidance
- Telework must continue where feasible
- Businesses with in-person operations must follow updated business and building safety requirements
- Masks are required in businesses
- All in-person businesses may operate at 75% occupancy, except where noted
- Self-certified restaurants may open at 50% capacity for indoor dining
- On-premises alcohol consumption prohibited unless part of a meal; cocktails-to-go and carryout beverages are allowed
- Serving alcohol for on-site consumption must end at 11 p.m, and all alcoholic beverages must be removed from patrons by midnight
- Personal care services (including hair salons and barbershops) open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only
- Indoor recreation and health and wellness facilities (such as gyms and spas) open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged; fitness facilities are directed to prioritize outdoor fitness activities
- All entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) open at 50% occupancy
- Construction activity may return to full capacity with continued implementation of protocol