COVID 19 UPDATE: Face Coverings Now Mandatory In Pennsylvania

Pursuant to Order dated July 1, 2020, Pennsylvanians are now required to wear face coverings in public places when they are unable to consistently maintain social distancing. The new Order, signed under Dr. Levine’s authority under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, provides that individuals are required to wear face coverings if they are:

A.   outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household;

B.    in any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted;

C.   waiting for, riding on, driving, or operating public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle;

D.  obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank; or

E.   engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when interacting in-person with any member of the public, working in any space visited by members of the public, working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, working in or walking through common areas, or in any room or enclosed area where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or residence, are present when unable to physically distance.

The Order sets forth various exceptions to the face covering requirement, including for individuals who cannot wear a mask “due to a medical condition . . . or disability” and for individuals for whom “wearing a mask while working would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task.”

The Order is “to be read in concert” with Dr. Levine’s Order Relating to Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-Person Operations, dated April 15, 2020, requiring employees of businesses authorized to maintain in-person operations to wear masks “while on the work site.” Information regarding Dr. Levine’s previous Order is available here.

Employers must be mindful of the mandates pertaining to face coverings set forth in Pennsylvania’s newest Order, specifically, subsection E, and ensure that their business operations are in compliance with the Order.

Ansa Assuncao, LLP continues to monitor the coronavirus pandemic. Our legal team can advise employers on specific employment and legal issues arising from the coronavirus, including best practices and policies for employers to follow. Contact our legal team for assistance.