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Alerts and Updates

Pennsylvania Updates COVID-19 Mitigation, Enforcement and Immunity Standards

March 3, 2021

Read below

Keep in mind that local jurisdictions, such as Philadelphia, may have stricter requirements.

On March 1, 2021, Pennsylvania issued updated orders/guidance for COVID-19 safety measures.  

Maximum Occupancy Requirement

The commonwealth has increased its maximum occupancy requirements. Indoor event venues may now hold 15 percent of their maximum occupancy, and outdoor venues are capped at 20 percent. Other precautions remain in place, including mask wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene. Keep in mind that local jurisdictions, such as Philadelphia, may have stricter requirements.

Telework

Remote work is still required unless not possible. This applies to even essential businesses that were given exemptions during the earlier color phases.

Failure to comply with the ongoing telework requirement not only may give rise to fines and other sanctions under state law but also may be used as evidence of: (a) failure to comply with the general duty clause under OSHA; and (b) negligence in a personal injury claim if an employee who allegedly should be working remotely works on site and infects or arguably infects an employee or nonemployee. Workers’ compensation may be a bar to claims by employees but challenges to workers’ compensation exclusivity continue.

Close Contact

Pennsylvania has adopted the CDC standard that, if certain conditions are met, there is no need for a vaccinated employee to self-quarantine after close contact as defined more broadly by the CDC.

Employers must bear in mind that not all states follow the CDC guidance on this issue. Further, because it is not clear that a fully vaccinated individual cannot spread the virus to others, employers may wish to be more cautious than the CDC and Pennsylvania law permit and quarantine close contacts even if fully vaccinated.

Interstate Travel

Pennsylvania has eliminated its quarantine requirements for individuals who have traveled to other states.

But, please note that other states, such as New York, still have quarantine requirements following travel out of state. Pennsylvania employers need to be careful not to eliminate reporting requirements related to travel altogether, as restrictions still apply under the CDC recommendations (for example, cruises) as well as under government advisories, such as those from the Department of State.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help employers plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Jonathan A. Segal, Sharon L. Caffrey, Eve I. Klein, any of the attorneys in our Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.