On Wecneday, April 15, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that Dr. Rachel Levine, under her authority as Secretary of the Department of Health to take any disease control measure appropriate to protect the public from the spread of infectious disease, signed an order directing protections for critical workers who are employed at businesses that are authorized to maintain in-person operations during the COVID-19 disaster emergency.
“This order provides critical protections for the workers needed to run and operate these life-sustaining establishments,” Governor Wolf said. “Businesses across the state have already begun to implement many of these protocols on their own, and we applaud their efforts to protect employees and customers.”
“This order will ensure continuity across all life-sustaining businesses and will further our efforts to protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians,” Dr. Levine said. “Together, we can all help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
The order establishes protocols to help employees maintain a social distance during work:
- Provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and make it a mandatory requirement while at the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink, in accordance with the guidance from the Department of Health and the CDC. Employers may approve masks obtained or made by employees in accordance with this guidance;
- Stagger work start and stop times for employees when practical to prevent gatherings of large groups entering or leaving the premises at the same time;
- Provide sufficient space for employees to have breaks and meals while maintaining a social distance of 6 feet, including limiting the number of employees in common areas and setting up seating to have employees facing forward and not across from each other;
- Conduct meetings and training virtually. If a meeting must be held in person, limit the meeting to the fewest number of employees possible, not to exceed 10 employees at one time and maintain a social distance of 6 feet.
- Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of employees to perform all measures listed effectively and in a manner that ensures the safety of the public and employees;
- Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of personnel to control access, maintain order, and enforce social distancing of at least 6 feet;
- Prohibit non-essential visitors from entering the premises of the business; and
- Ensure that all employees who do not speak English as their first language are aware of procedures by communicating the procedures, either orally or in writing, in their native or preferred language.