The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released an updated order requiring universal face coverings. According to the press release, the intent is to “strengthen” the original order that was placed earlier in the year.
To help the public understand the new order, the Department of Health has released a Universal Masking FAQ document.
One area that had resulted in questions by our membership earlier in the year was face coverings while working. Please note that the updated order does provide the following exceptions:
A. If wearing a face covering while working would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
B. If wearing a face covering would either cause a medical condition, or exacerbate an existing one, including respiratory issues that impede breathing, a mental health condition or a disability.
C. When necessary to confirm the individual’s identity.
D. While obtaining a service that requires the temporary removal of the face covering, such as dental services.
E. When working alone and isolated from interaction with other people with little or no expectation of in-person interaction."
F. If an individual is communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired or has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
If you have any questions, please contact Peter Vlahos.
Currently, Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland counties all moved into the yellow phase at 12:01 a.m. May 15, 2020. More news though—12 new counties move into the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus reopening plan next Friday, May 22.
On May 22, Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Wayne, and York counties will all be operating under yellow instead of living under a red complete stay-at-home order.
Late on May 7th, with the stay-at-home order set to expire at midnight, Governor Wolf and Dr. Levine, extended the stay-at-home order for all counties in red to June 4.
This is the link to that press release>>https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-sec-of-health-take-actions-on-stay-at-home-orders-issue-yellow-phase-orders/.
At a press conference held on May 8th, he announced 13 more Pennsylvania counties to move to the yellow phase of reopening on May 15. These counties include:
Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland. The changes will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on May 15.
Of note Beaver County is not included in the above partial reopening, due to a major nursing home outbreak in that county.
Last updated: 8:30 a.m., April 23, 2020Read More
Governor Tom Wolf today presented his detailed plan for reopening the commonwealth with a targeted May 8 start. The administration will categorize reopening into three phases: red, yellow, green. Phases will be assigned based on conditions in a county, counties or region.Read More
Governor Wolf today announced May 8 as the construction restart date. No additional details have been provided at this point, however, we do expect to hear something later in the week of April 20th.Read More
Secretary Levine has published a list of frequently asked questions relating to the latest directives regarding businesses permitted to maintain in-person operations.View List
Today, Governor Wolf announced preliminary plans for the Commonwealths recovery from COVID-19. At this time, no specific date has been mentioned.Read Announcement
Today, Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of the Department of Health, signed an order, effective immediately and enforceable starting April 19, 2020 at 8 pm, to take additional appropriate disease control safety measures for all employees and visitors at life-sustaining businesses that have remained open during the COVID-19 disaster emergency. This includes the previous social distancing, mitigation, and cleaning protocols, as well as the following actions for when a business has been exposed to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID19.View Order
Yesterday (4/5), PA DOH Sec. Levine signed an order providing direction for essential businesses in operation to maintain clean buildings by following the protocols and guidelines as outlined in the link below. The order goes into effect 12:01 a.m. April 6, 2020. While enforcement measures have not been outlined, businesses are recommended to keep documentation of compliance on-hand at facilities.Read More
This list overrides the list posted on March 24, 2020, and reflects changes made as of April 1, 2020.View List
Governor Wolf has changed his stance and has now classified the Nonmetallic Mineral Mining and Quarrying as a life-sustaining industry!View Revised List of Life Sustaining Businesses
Below is Gov. Wolf's Press Release and list of industries with a determination as to their life-sustainability with respect to COVID-19. Note that due to large volume of traffic, most of the links are timing out. Following the below press release is the list of industries and whether they need to close at 8 p.m. today.
If you are experiencing the links timing out, we have included a hard copy of the list via the button at the bottom of the press release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 19, 2020 ALL NON-LIFE-SUSTAINING BUSINESSES IN PENNSYLVANIA TO CLOSE PHYSICAL LOCATIONS AS OF 8 PM TODAY TO SLOW SPREAD OF COVID-19
Enforcement Actions for Restaurant, Bar Dine-In Closure Began at 8 p.m., March 18Enforcement Actions for Non-Compliance will Begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. today, March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m.
Saturday, March 21.Gov. Wolf’s order is here.
A video statement from Gov. Wolf is here.
In extenuating circumstances, special exemptions will be granted to businesses that are supplying or servicing health care providers.
“To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions,” said Gov. Wolf. “This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat. And, we need to act now before the illness spreads more widely.”
The governor had previously encouraged non-life-sustaining businesses to close to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants and bars were already required to stop all dine-in services. Enforcement for establishments with a liquor license began at 8 p.m. March 18, and enforcement for all other food establishments will begin at 8 p.m. tonight. Food establishments can offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service, including alcohol.
Pursuant to the Emergency Management Services Code, the governor is granted extraordinary powers upon his declaration of a disaster emergency, such as COVID-19. Among these powers, the governor may control the ingress and egress into the disaster area, the movement of persons, and the occupancy of premises within the disaster area, which has been established to be the entire commonwealth for the COVID-19 disaster emergency. The secretary of health separately is authorized under the law to employ measures necessary for the prevention and suppression of disease.
Separately, and taken together, the administration is exercising these powers to temporarily close all non-life-sustaining businesses and dine-in facilities at all restaurants and bars across the commonwealth. Persons must be removed from these premises to cope with the COVID-19 disaster emergency.
Failure to Comply and Enforcement Failure to comply with these requirements will result in enforcement action that could include citations, fines, or license suspensions.
The governor has directed the following state agencies and local officials to enforce the closure orders to the full extent of the law:
Private businesses, local organizations and other noncompliant entities that fail or refuse to comply with the governor’s orders that protect the lives and health of Pennsylvanians will forfeit their ability to receive any applicable disaster relief and/or may be subject to other appropriate administrative action. Such action may include termination of state loan or grant funding, including Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project (RACP) grant funding and/or suspension or revocation of licensure for violation of the law.
Finally, in addition to any other criminal charges that might be applicable, the Department of Health is authorized to prosecute noncompliant entities for the failure to comply with health laws, including quarantine, isolation or other disease control measures. Violators are subject to fines or imprisonment.
Business Loans and Support.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. The U.S. Small Business Administration, in addition to local funding partners, may also be a source of assistance for affected businesses.View List
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf has directed employees under the Governor's jurisdictin (PennDOT, DEP, etc.) who work in Commonwealth offices in all 67 counties, who are able to telework to do so beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and extending for a period of 14 days.
Governor Wolf strongly urged the following non-essential business across the Commonwealth to close for 14-days to mitigate the spread of this disease:
Essential services and sectors include but are not limited to food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, feed mills, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair/hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical and healthcare, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and pet stores, warehousing, storage, and distribution, public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.
Although these businesses may remain open, the Wolf Administration continues to encourage them to employ social distancing practices, and encourages Pennsylvanians to be thoughtful in their visits.
Other businesses, including but not limited to legal services, business and management consulting, professional services and insurance services are encouraged to have employees work remotely or telecommute. If that is not possible, they should employ social distancing best practices and be aware of the Trump Administration’s guidance to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
The Wolf Administration strongly encourages businesses to act now before the governor or the Secretary of Health finds it necessary to compel closures under the law for the interest of public health, including section 7301 of the Emergency Management Services Code.