Pennsylvania officials on Wednesday implemented new rules aimed at keeping the coronavirus from spreading in businesses open to in-person customers, including requiring they mandate employees and customers wear masks, and take all employees’ temperature if a worker has tested positive for COVID-19.
Health Secretary Rachel Levine signed an order establishing the protocols, which require businesses provide employees with masks or facial coverings, or approve masks the employees bought or made themselves.
The order also requires that businesses deny entry to customers who are not wearing a mask, unless the business sells food, medication, or medical supplies. In those cases, the business must provide an alternative method of pickup or delivery for individuals who do not have a facial covering.
The order also requires businesses provide space for employees to have breaks and meals while maintaining a social distance; conduct meetings and training virtually; prohibit all nonessential visitors; and install shields or other barriers at check-out areas, or take other measures to ensure social distancing of customers from check-out personnel.
“This order provides critical protections for the workers needed to run and operate these life-sustaining establishments," Gov. Tom Wolf said.
In addition, there are new protocols for essential businesses where an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. Upon learning of the case, the business must implement temperature screenings before employees enter the business before the start of work, and they must send home any employee with a temperature above 100.4 degrees.
The businesses must also clean and disinfect the areas where that employee worked and notify other employees who worked in close contact with the individual, generally defined as people who worked within six feet of the person for 10 minutes or more.
Businesses that don’t comply with the order are subject to citations and fines. Enforcement begins Sunday at 8 p.m.
Pennsylvania health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have previously recommended people wear masks or facial coverings in public settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Here’s the full order: