This afternoon, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine issued an order for employers operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order establishes protocols to help employees and customers maintain a social distance. The order will be enforced beginning Sunday, April 19 at 8:00 P.M.

The order establishes requirements for businesses in three significant areas relating to continued operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Rules: All employers must ensure that employees wear masks, stagger start and stop times (when practical), make arrangements so that employees can maintain six feet of distancing during breaks, require single direction seating in break rooms, conduct meetings virtually whenever possible, ensure sufficient staffing to enforce social distancing, limit visitors to essential only, and ensure that non-English speaking employees understand the requirements.

Response to Infection: When an employer learns of a confirmed or probable COVID-19 diagnosis for an employee, it must implement pre-shift temperature screening for all employees and send home employees with temperatures above 100.4F. The employer must notify other employees who worked closely with the affected employee. The order contains specific cleaning and disinfection protocols after a diagnosis.

Customer-Facing Businesses: With limited exceptions, must require customers to wear masks, schedule business by appointment or else limit customers to 50% of the number allowed by the facility’s certificate of occupancy, make all efforts to provide delivery or outside pickup, provide special shopping hours for high risk and elderly customers at least once each week, alter hours to ensure that cleaning and restocking can occur, install shields at check-out stands, use only every other check-out location (and regularly clean and rotate use of check-out locations), assign employees to wipe carts and handbaskets for each customer, give employees handwashing breaks each hour.

Read Stevens & Lee’s Client Alert on this order.