Significantly, Pennsylvania businesses are no longer required to conduct operations remotely. Further, the capacity limit for businesses serving the public increased to 75%. Governor Tom Wolf signed the amended order on April 1, 2021.
Although teleworking remains “strongly encouraged,” remote operations are no longer mandated:
All businesses are strongly encouraged to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business.
As noted above, the amended order allows in-person retail businesses serving the public to operate at 75% of maximum capacity:
All in-person retail businesses serving the public within a building or defined area in the entertainment industry (museums, amusement, casinos, theatres (live venue and movie), malls, etc.) may operate at up to 75% of the maximum capacity stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy at any given time…
Limits on gatherings are also relaxed. Indoor events and gatherings are allowed up to 25% of maximum capacity. Outdoor events and gatherings are permitted up to 50% of maximum capacity. All gym and fitness facilities are permitted to continue indoor operations at up to 75% occupancy but remain encouraged to prioritize outdoor physical fitness activities. Personal care services, including spas and barber shops, are likewise permitted to operate at 75% of capacity.
Indoor dining and nightclubs are both limited to 50% of capacity. However, restaurants who participate in the self-certification program are eligible to operate at 75%. Bar service is permitted so long as physical distancing, face coverings and other mitigation measures are employed to protect workers and patrons. Bar service may only be provided to seated patrons. Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.
On April 1, 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Health also updated its FAQ guidance. This FAQ contains valuable information regarding both mandatory and recommended COVID-19 mitigation measures for Pennsylvania businesses. Under the updated FAQ, houses of worship remain excluded from gathering limitations during religious services.
It is important to note that the amended order does not supersede more restrictive limitations enacted by local governments, including the City of Philadelphia. Further, any portions of prior orders not amended, including but not limited to physical distancing and the use of face coverings, remain in full effect.
The Coronavirus Task Force at Klehr Harrison stands ready to assist you in your business and legal needs. We will continue to provide additional information and guidance as the COVID-19 situation develops.
Author Patrick McKnight is an associate in the litigation department at Klehr Harrison.