What are the Newly Issued Safety and Social Distancing Rules and Regulations for Essential Businesses in PA?

Written by: Alan Nochumson

This week, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine signed an order requiring all Pennsylvania essential businesses still operating in physical form to maintain certain safety procedures and protocols. 

Significantly, businesses are also required to deny entry to any customers who are not wearing a mask, unless the business sells food, medication, or medical supplies.  In those cases, the business must provide an alternative method of pickup or delivery for individuals who do not have a facial covering.

Non-essential visitors to the businesses are prohibited and, 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, must maintain a social distance of 6 feet at checkout and counter lines, and must place signage throughout each site to mandate social distancing for both customers and employees.

Businesses must stagger start, stop, and break times and provide space for employees to have breaks and meals to enable employees to practice social distancing and prevent large gatherings of groups.  Meetings must be conducted virtually if they would involve more than 10 people. 

Businesses must also clean and disinfect high touch areas in accordance with guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Also, protocols must be established in the event the business has discovered that it was exposed to an individual with a probable or confirmed case of Covid-19. 

In addition, there are new protocols for essential businesses where an employee has tested positive for COVID-19.  Upon learning of the case, the business must implement temperature screenings before employees enter the business before the start of work, and they must send home any employee with a temperature above 100.4 degrees.  The businesses must also clean and disinfect the areas where that employee worked and notify other employees who worked in close contact with the individual.

Businesses that do not comply with the order will be subject to citations and fines.  Enforcement of the order begins on Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 8 p.m.

It is anticipated that similar rules will be applied to non-essential businesses once the state of emergency is removed and the businesses allowed to reopen.

If you have questions about the obligations of essential businesses under these newly issued safety and social distancing rules and regulations, please feel free to contact us at contact@nochumson.com and an attorney at Nochumson P.C. will immediately reach out to you to schedule a free consultation.