Below, please find information that PENNBOC is sharing with its membership, including: New Public Health Measures for Businesses; Legislative Effort to Re-open Segments of PA Economy; Northeast States Extending Business Shut-down to May 15th
NEW PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES FOR BUSINESSES
Yesterday evening (4/15/20), the Pennsylvania Department of Heath issued a new order “Directing Public Heath Safety Measures for Businesses Permitting to Maintain In-Person Operations.” The order announces new protocols for essential businesses and is aimed at protecting employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full order HERE.
In addition to cleaning & social distancing procedures, key new requirements include: requiring both employees and visiting customer to wear masks; requiring businesses to implement temperature screenings before employees enter the business if it is discovered that there has been an exposure to a person with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19; and, business access restrictions.
The order reads, in part:
“A.) A business that is authorized to maintain in-person operations, …shall
implement, as applicable, the following social distancing, mitigation,
and cleaning protocols:
(3) establish protocols for execution upon discovery that the business
has been exposed to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of
a. close off areas visited by the person who is a probable or
confirmed case of COVID-19…. Wait a minimum of 24 hours,
or as long as practical, before beginning cleaning &
b. identify employees that were in close contact (within about 6
feet for about 10 minutes) with a person with a probable or
confirmed case of COVID-19 from the period 48 hours before
symptom onset to the time at which the patient isolated;
(i.) If the employee remains asymptomatic, the person
should adhere to the practices set out by the CDC…;
[Read the CDC’s Interim Guidance on Implementing Safety
Practices for Workers Who May Have Been Exposed to a
Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 HERE.]
(ii.) If the employee becomes sick during the work day, the
person should be sent home immediately. Surfaces in
the employee’s workspace should be cleaned and
disinfected. Info on other employees who had contact
with the ill employee during the time the employee had
symptoms and 48 hours prior to symptoms should be
compiled. Others at the workplace with close contact
within 6 feet of the employee during this time would be
(iii.) Promptly notify employees who were close contacts of
any known exposure to COVID-19 at the business
premises, consistent with applicable confidentiality
c. implement temperature screening before an employee enters
the business, prior to the start of each shift or, for employees
who do not work shifts, before the employee starts work, and
send employees home that have an elevated temperature or
fever of 100.4 F degrees or higher…;
d. employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness
of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home;
e. sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps.
Employees should not return to work until the CDC criteria to
discontinue home isolation are met…;
(4) stagger work start and stop times for employees when practicable to
prevent gatherings of large groups entering or leaving the premises
at the same time;
(10) provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the
business, and make it a mandatory requirement to wear masks while
on the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time
to eat or drink, in accordance with the guidance from the Dept of
Health and the CDC. Employers may approve masks obtained or made
by employees in accordance with Dept of Health guidance [Read
DOH’s Guidance on Homemade Masks During COVID-19HERE.];
B.) In addition to the above, the following measures apply to businesses,
other than health care providers, that serve the public within a building
or a defined area:
(1) where feasible, businesses should conduct business with the public
by appointment only and to the extent that this is not feasible,
businesses must limit occupancy to no greater than 50% of the
number stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy at any given
time, as necessary to reduce crowding in the business, and must
maintain a social distance of 6 feet at check-out and counter lines,
and must place signage throughout each site to mandate social
distancing for both customers and employees;
(3) install shields or other barriers at registers and check-out areas to
physically separate cashiers and customers or take other measures to
ensure social distancing of customers from check-out personnel, or
close lines to maintain a social distance between of 6 feet between
(6) require all customers to wear masks while on premises, and deny
entry to individuals not wearing mask…”
The order will be enforced starting Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 8:00pm.
LEGISLATIVE EFFORT TO RE-OPEN SEGMENTS OF PA ECONOMY
Yesterday (4/15/20), Pennsylvania’s General Assembly approved a legislative measure (SB 613) that includes language allowing a number of businesses across the state to re-open. It would redefine what constitutes an “essential businesses” relying on federal guidelines laid out by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. This would allow most construction projects to proceed. Businesses that are able to operate safely under the new guidelines would be permitted to re-open as long as they comply with mitigation strategies.
However, the Wolf Administration has indicated that the governor plans to veto the bill stating the “course we’re on right now is the least bad choice we have to make and with all the painful decisions that go with it. It’s the right course.”
Read news coverage HERE.
NORTHEAST STATES EXTEND BUSINESS SHUT-DOWN TO MAY 15
A collection of governors in the Northeast have agreed to coordinate their action plans on COVID-19. The states in the “working group” include Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware.
Today (4/16/20), the group’s de factor leader, Gov. Cuomo (NY) announced that New York’s close-down policy of non-essential businesses will be extended to May 15th and that they are coordinating with other states.
As of this email, Pennsylvania has not announced an extension of its current closure of non-life-sustaining businesses. PA’s Closure of Business Order has no defined end date. The state-wide Stay-at-Home Order for individuals is scheduled to be lifted on April 30.
Delaware has already extended its shutdown of nonessential businesses to May 15, and New Jersey’s order did not specific an end date.
View news coverage HERE.
Stay up-to-date on Pennsylvania’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic HERE. Also, PA L&I’s Burea of Occupational and Industrial Safety has etablished a FAQ page with answers to many common questions. You can view it HERE.