Safely Bringing Our Economy Back
As Pennsylvania businesses have gradually re-opened in the COVID-19 pandemic era, the PA Chamber continues our work to ensure that employers have access to the most up-to-date regulatory information, useful resources and best practices to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for their employees and customers. The information below will help business leaders continue their operations with confidence.
Ensuring a Safe & Healthy Workplace
On June 28, 2021, the PA Department of Health officially lifted the state’s masking order, per an earlier announcement that the order would be lifted on June 28 or when 70 percent of the Commonwealth’s adult population was vaccinated, whichever came first.
While Pennsylvania has not yet met the 70 percent benchmark, it is expected to exceed its target of vaccinating 70 percent of the adult population soon – according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 75 percent of adults have had at least one COVID-19 dose and nearly 60 percent of those 18 and older are now fully vaccinated.
General Guidelines & Resources for PA Businesses
While many businesses have used CDC guidance in making the decision to drop their mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals, there are situations in which masks may still be required – namely at health care providers’ offices; and the Wolf administration has said that businesses, municipalities and schools may continue to require face covers as they see fit, regardless of vaccination status.
Offer Flexibility in Addressing Childcare Challenges
Childcare: The closure of childcare centers and schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges for employers and workers alike. From the start, the PA Chamber recognized the exodus of parents from the workforce (particularly women and women of color) to care for their children and urged business owners to be as flexible as possible with their employees when addressing these challenges.
Our latest effort has been a collaboration with the PA Early Learning Investment Commission and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania on a report that showcases the impact of childcare issues and the workforce and provides actionable solutions for addressing these challenges.
Among the key report findings:
- Many employers have a workforce with moderate to high childcare needs.
- While flexible work schedules and remote work arrangements are the most common solutions, Pennsylvania employers currently employ various strategies to assist with childcare.
- During the pandemic, childcare emerged as one of the more significant reasons employers believe they lost employees.
- Most employers offered additional childcare supports during the pandemic to meet labor needs, with 41 percent planning to keep those supports in place after the pandemic ends.
- There is strong interest among employers of all business sizes to support working families with childcare needs – most employers see it as a way to improve retention, recruitment, productivity and reputation.
As we move beyond the pandemic into a brighter economic future, our organization continues to encourage employer flexibility regarding childcare, as it is critical toward “Bringing PA Back” and providing opportunities for those who made the difficult decision to leave the workforce when the pandemic began.
Additional Efforts to Address Childcare Challenges
- In February 2021, the PA Chamber joined business advocates nationwide in signing a coalition letter to Congressional leaders, urging them to invest significantly in the country’s childcare system in the FY21 Budget Reconciliation Bill.
- A U.S. Chamber Foundation webinar explored this issue in depth.
Updated Wolf Administration Workplace Orders
As of May 31, 2021, all businesses, events and venues returned to 100 percent capacity with the lifting of COVID-19 mitigation orders.
Individuals are still being required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. Individuals should still follow guidance at workplaces, local businesses, long-term care facilities, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
The PA Department of Health recommends that Pennsylvanians refer to CDC guidance and recommendations regarding ongoing COVID-19 safety measures and procedures. Municipalities, businesses and school districts may continue implementing stricter mitigation efforts.
Additionally, OSHA is directing employers to refer, for now, to CDC guidelines for workplace policies related to employees, but has indicated its intention to update their guidance, which had previously called for employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
Visit the Wolf Administration’s COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses page for further details.
Industry Specific Guidelines and Best Practices
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or medical advice; all information, content, and materials on this site are for general informational purposes only.
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