Effective November 27, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf Tightens COVID-19 Restrictions

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Patricia Tsipras

November 25, 2020

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued an Executive Order, effective Friday, November 27, 2020 until further notice, changing how Pennsylvania businesses may operate in light of COVID-19. The Executive Order includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

• Businesses must operate remotely, unless remote work is impossible
• Enhanced cleaning and mitigation protocols, including, but not limited to, routinely disinfecting high-touch areas, employee temperature screenings, physical distancing, face coverings, and prohibiting non-essential visitors
• Contact tracing, including identifying COVID-19 close contacts, reporting them to the Pennsylvania or local health department upon request, and notifying employees of any known exposure
• Employee isolation or quarantine when ill or when a close contact of a person who is diagnosed with or tests positive for COVID-19
• For businesses serving the public, social distancing and face coverings, capacity limits (generally 75% of maximum capacity), one-way traffic patterns, hand sanitizer in high-contact areas, use of plexiglass shields, delivery or outside pick-up options, and specific times at least once per week for high-risk or elderly persons to use the business

Additional requirements exist for businesses in the entertainment industry (section four of the Order), gyms and fitness facilities (section five of the Order), personal care services (section six of the Order), businesses in the retail food services industry, including bars, restaurants, and private catered events (section seven of the Order), nightclubs (section eight of the Order), events and gatherings (section nine of the Order), and visitations to prisons and hospitals (section ten of the Order).

Exemptions exist for religious gatherings (section 11 of the Order).

The Order outlines additional enforcement mechanisms, including an initial warning letter; potential citation or fine and 24-hour closure for a second violation; and 24-hour closure, additional fines and penalties, and referral for criminal prosecution for subsequent violations (section 13 of the Order).

The Order offers liability protection for all businesses that maintain in-person operations and are open to the public. Businesses will receive immunity from civil liability only as related to the Updated Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health requiring universal face coverings (effective November 18, 2020), given that individuals and entities are engaged in essential emergency services activities and disaster services activities when enforcing the order.

Let us know how we can help you and your business remain compliant with COVID-19 guidelines.

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