Governor Insists Now is the Time to “Mask Up, PA”

Latest COVID-19 Orders In PA Raise Questions For Business Owners, Colleges And Universities

With the countdown to Turkey Day at just over one week, the governor has issued new restrictions and requirements following record-breaking daily numbers of COVID-19 cases that continue to be recorded in Pennsylvania. With reference to enforcement mechanisms in neighboring states, these new restrictions even extend into private homes.

Hospitals Urged To Work Together

First, citing modeling from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, Governor Wolf’s Administration issued a memorandum advising hospitals and other healthcare coalitions and partnerships to work together and prepare to support one another through the recent surge in cases and hospitalizations. This modeling indicates that Pennsylvania hospitals could reach capacity and run out of intensive care beds as soon as next month. With this information in mind, the Governor has strengthened Pennsylvania’s masking order, issued a new traveler testing and quarantine order, and submitted recommendations to colleges and universities for avoiding COVID-19 outbreaks on campus.

Masks Required – Indoors And Out

Under this most recent order, masks must be worn when away from your home, whether indoors or outdoors. If you are outside, you must wear a mask unless you can maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not a member of your household. While indoors other than in your own home, masks are required at all times, regardless of whether you can remain 6 feet apart, and when you are around anyone other than members of your household.

PA Travelers Must Test Or Quarantine

In addition to increasing mask requirements, the Governor’s Administration has issued an order that will directly impact holiday travelers and will put a damper on many family gatherings. The order requires visitors from any other state to be tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative test within 72 hours before entering Pennsylvania. Should a visitor from another state decide not to be tested, the visitor is required to quarantine for fourteen (14) days upon their entry into Pennsylvania. These requirements, which take effect on Friday, November 20, 2020, are also applicable to Pennsylvanians who visit other states, except for those who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.

Colleges Encouraged To Expand Testing and Protocols

Finally, the most recent order from the Governor’s Administration provides recommendations for colleges and universities, most of which have already taken extensive measures to ensure student safety by radically altering their semester calendars, with many students completing the semester before the Thanksgiving holiday, and most others not returning physically to campus until after the new year. Colleges and universities are encouraged to limit the potential for outbreaks by (1) implementing a testing plan for when students return to campus following holiday breaks; (2) preparing adequate isolation and quarantine facilities; (3) enforcing violations of policies relative to mask-wearing and social distancing; (4) testing all students at the beginning of each term, and (5) conducting regular screenings through the term.

Businesses Face Challenges Related To New Rules

These latest orders will undoubtedly raise questions for business owners and their staff and for colleges and universities on how to safely and effectively combat the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. Business owners again are forced to address challenges that will undoubtedly be created when workers return from the Thanksgiving holiday with new rules in place. It is important that business owners understand the requirements of the new orders, have adequate safety plans in place to address these challenges, and stay alert as new orders and recommendations are issued by local, state, and federal government officials.

Attorneys To Assist In Navigating COVID-19 Challenges

The attorneys at The Lynch Law Group have been working diligently with clients to assist with preparing safety plans and educating their staff on how to safely operate their businesses, and the Education Practice Group has been advising education clients through the challenges of remote learning and operating a safe learning environment for students and staff. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you navigate and rise to the challenge of these uncertain times.

Please contact us with questions about adjusting your organization’s operations and procedures in light of the newest orders, or for guidance in implementing COVID-19 safety measures or other programs in your organization.

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