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
Maintaining a safe, clean environment for your employees and customers is the best way to ensure your doors can stay open. Below are guidelines from trusted resources so you can be certain you’re doing all you can to combat the spread of COVID-19:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Wolf Administration Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public; along with FAQs for Businesses Operating During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency.
- Cleaning and disinfection guidelines from the EPA and CDC.
To help employees and customers feel safe, heed these tried and true best practices:
- Regularly communicate the steps your business is taking to keep employees and customers safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Promote social distancing, mask-wearing and hand hygiene.
- Limit the number of customers in the facility to ensure appropriate distancing; offer curbside delivery instead of in-store pick-up; add plastic barriers/shields at registers.
- Provide supports for staff to ensure their mental and emotional well-being – including the implementation of employee wellness programs or staff emergency leave or funds.
- Establish and share protocols for when an employee or someone they are in close contact with has been exposed to COVID-19, as outlined in this guidance document from the PA Department of Health.
Updated Telework Order
As of April 4, 2021, the Wolf Administration officially ended its mandate that businesses require their employees to telework. According to the state’s COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses page, now “All in-person businesses may operate at 75 percent occupancy, except where noted. Businesses must follow all the worker and building safety requirements for employers. All businesses are strongly encouraged to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees.”
Per the PA Department of Health, further details on the order are as follows:
- General safety rules are still in place. Keep wearing your mask to enter a business, stay six feet apart, and follow all the general health and safety rules as before. This is our new normal.
- Gathering limitations are still in place. Effective 4/1/2021, maximum occupancy is 25% for indoor events and 50% for outdoor events, regardless of venue size and only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement. Schools and most childcare centers must still follow the Department of Education rules for operating. Prisons and hospitals can decide their own visitor policies for each facility.
- All businesses can reopen. All in-person businesses may operate at 75% occupancy, except where noted. Businesses must follow all the worker and building safety requirements for employers. All businesses are strongly encouraged to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees. Remember to check the COVID-19 Guidance and Resources page for more details.
There are still restrictions for businesses that work with the public. You must limit occupancy if your business is in one of the following categories:
- Restaurants may open indoor dining, up to 50% occupancy or up to 75% occupancy with self-certification. Bar service is permitted for seated patrons.
- Night clubs may open, up to 50% occupancy.
- Indoor recreation can have up to 75% occupancy, and fitness facilities should continue to prioritize outdoor fitness activities (including gyms, indoor malls, bowling, arcades, indoor sports, go-kart, pool halls, and similar facilities)
- Health and wellness can have up to 75% occupancy, and providing service by appointment only is highly recommended (this applies to spas, barbershops, hair and nail salons, saunas, tattoo parlors, massage therapists and other personal care service businesses)
- Entertainment may have up to 75% occupancy (like casinos, theaters, zoos, museums, historical sites, amusement parks, and other entertainment venues). Any events within these venues, such as individual performances, screenings, shows, showtimes, lectures, etc., must abide by the 25% occupancy limit for indoor events and 50% occupancy limit for outdoor events.
Offer Flexibility in Addressing Real-World Challenges
Childcare: The closure of childcare centers and schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges for employers working to get their facilities up and running and their employees back to the jobsite. Site capacity limits; staff personal protective equipment needs; financial concerns for childcare centers; higher safety and cleanliness standards than ever before; and an exodus of parents from the workforce (particularly women and women of color) are among the many childcare-related topics that need to be addressed as Pennsylvanians return to work. Business owners are encouraged to be as flexible as possible with their employees when working to address these challenges.
- A recent U.S. Chamber Foundation webinar explored this issue in depth.
- 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.
General Guidelines & Resources for PA Businesses
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Special “Path Forward” Presentation with CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield Dec. 2, 2020
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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