Steve Matzura, Andrew Levy and Austin Wolfe recently issued a client alert updating our clients on newly required safety measures for COVID-19 in the workplace. The first half of the alert is below, but you should contact one of the authors for more details or the full alert.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued an Order effective April 15 requiring social distancing, cleaning, use of masks for employees and visitors, and other mandatory mitigation protocols for businesses authorized to maintain in-person operations during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency (except for healthcare providers). This Order expands on the Department of Health’s prior order effective April 6 that required building safety and cleaning measures for certain businesses. Employers have only a few days to comply with the April 15 Order, as it becomes enforceable on April 19, 2020 at 8:00 PM.
Among other things, the Order requires employers to “make it a mandatory requirement to wear masks while on 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.” This means that employers must now provide masks and/or approve use of masks obtained or made by employees in accordance with Department of Health guidance. Simply, the Governor’s prior recommendation to wear masks in Pennsylvania is now a mandate for employers. As McNees reported previously, employers should consider how these requirements interact with OSHA standards.
In addition, the Order requires employers to implement protocols for managing exposure to confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, and other mitigation and cleaning measures to protect employees and the public from exposure. After discovering an exposure to a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, the Order requires businesses to implement temperature screenings before employees enter the premises prior to starting work, and employees with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher must be sent home. The Order prescribes procedures for closure, cleaning, and notification to address such situations. Employers are also encouraged to implement liberal paid time off policies to those employees who are isolated at home.
In addition, regular updates concerning COVID-19 are also posted on the McNees COVID-19 Resource Page.