Pennsylvania strengthens mask mandates and imposes COVID-19 testing requirements for travelers
The below information is current as of the publication date listed. Because COVID-19 response measures on all fronts are continually evolving, clients should stay alert to new developments and consult with counsel on any critical questions.
In response to surging COVID-19 cases across Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, Pennsylvania has reinforced requirements for mask wearing and imposed new COVID-19 testing requirements for travelers.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced additional steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on November 17, 2020. She has issued an order which includes measures strengthening the state’s mask mandates. In addition to the requirements of the April 15, 2020 mask order:
- Masks are now required to be worn at all times, both indoors and outdoors, if you are away from your home.
- When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least six feet away) from others not in your household the entire time you are outdoors.
- When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from others who are not members of your household. This means that even if you are able to be six apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside with people other than members of your household.
- This applies to every indoor facility, including homes, retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation and anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.
- Businesses are obligated to post prominent signs stating that masks are required and to enforce mask requirements for all employees, customers and visitors but are not to use physical force or otherwise enforce mask requirements when it is unsafe to do so.
Another order issued today implements new testing requirements for travelers:
- Anyone who visits from another state must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth or must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania.
- Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return or quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.
- These requirements do not apply to people who commute to-and-from another state for work or medical treatment.
The Secretary of Health also issued an advisory to acute care hospitals regarding COVID-19 care expectations and recommendations for colleges and universities to implement universal testing for students.
In the press remarks, Dr. Levine indicated that, currently, the state has no plans to return to the color-coded system of COVID-19-related restrictions, but that the success or failure of mitigation efforts in the short term will determine whether additional limitations will be imposed.
Saxton & Stump attorney Jason Benion is available to assist businesses and professionals with these and other issues regarding operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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