Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania
Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania
Last updated 12:40 p.m., July 2, 2020
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
All Pennsylvanians have an important role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. Here are resources to help individuals, families, and businesses do their part.
Keep checking back. This guide will be kept up to date as resources and information change.
You can find up-to-date information about cases in Pennsylvania at on.pa.gov/coronavirus.
If somebody has taken drugs and becomes unresponsive, call 911 immediately. These resources are intended for preventive measures only.
Symptoms and Prevention
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:
- Through the air by coughing or sneezing.
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it.
- Occasionally, fecal contamination.
Here’s how you can protect yourself:
- Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
- Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.
Check out the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Dashboard to see up-to-date data on case counts and demographics, hospital preparedness, and testing.
Having trouble viewing the dashboard? View the full screen version.
What Phase Is My County in?
As of July 3, all counties are in the green phase of reopening.
Pennsylvania plans to proceed with returning to work cautiously. Broad reopenings or reopenings that are not structured around ongoing social distancing, universal masking, or other public health guidance would likely result in a spike of cases and new stay-at-home and closure orders.
Throughout this process, we will have guidance in place to support best public health practices. This guidance will reinforce and build on existing worker and building safety orders. It will also be able to adapt to the changing nature of the pandemic, as well as lessons learned from communities that return to work strategically.
Pennsylvania will utilize a three-phase matrix to determine when counties and/or regions are ready to begin easing some restrictions on work, congregate settings, and social interactions. See the full plan for reopening Pennsylvania.
What Is Social Distancing?
Social distancing means staying away from close contact in public spaces. It includes actions like staying out of places where lots of people gather and maintaining distance — approximately 6 feet — from others.
Social distancing also includes minimizing contact with people by avoiding public transportation when possible, limiting nonessential travel, working from home, and skipping social gatherings.
All Pennsylvanians should practice social distancing — not just those who are seriously ill or at high risk.
Social distancing is a proven way to slow the spread of pandemics.
After a county transitions to the yellow phase, we will closely monitor for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for fourteen days, we will transition the county to the green phase.
The green phase eases most restrictions with the continued suspension of the stay at home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health.
While this phase will facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.
|Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions|
- All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning
- Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary
On July 1, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine signed an order requiring that masks are worn whenever anyone leaves home.
Members of the general public don’t need a surgical mask – we need those for our health care workers and first responders. Instead, they are encouraged to wear homemade fabric or cloth masks.
Homemade masks limit the spread of infectious droplets in the air by containing coughs and sneezes. When a homemade mask can’t be acquired a scarf or bandana can be utilized. Learn more about when to wear a homemade mask and how to wear one.
By implementing community use of these homemade fabric or cloth masks, everyone will have a higher degree of protection from this virus.
Mental Health Resources
It’s normal to feel stress around COVID-19. The CDC suggests these tips to help you cope:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to the news — including on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body:
- Take deep breaths, stretch, and/or meditate
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals
- Exercise regularly
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Make time to unwind with activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about how you’re feeling.
Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not an indication of weakness. Here are just a few mental health resources available to Pennsylvanians:
- Crisis Text Line: Text ‘PA’ to 741741 for help 24/7.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: If you or someone you care about is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255. [Español: 888-628-9454.]
- PA’s new support helpline: Our new support helpline, run by the Department of Human Services, is here to help. Call 855-284-2494 to speak with someone today.
- Prevent Suicide PA: Learn the warning signs of suicide and how you can help, plus get other resources.
- Disaster Distress Helpline: Experiencing emotional distress due to COVID-19? Call 1-800-985-5990 or text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
- Get Help Now for substance use disorder: Recovery is not canceled. Reach out for support from the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs by calling 1-800-662-4357, or use the online chat function.
- Veterans Crisis Line: Are you a veteran in crisis or concerned about one? Connect with caring, qualified responders, many of whom are veterans themselves, by calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1, or chat online .
Find a comprehensive list of COVID-19 mental health information and resources through Mental Health America.
If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation (UC) or Workers’ Compensation (WC) benefits.
The following changes to UC have been made to help Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The Waiting Week is suspended. Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during their first week of unemployment (the “waiting week”). This has been suspended; eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed.
- Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits. Claimants are also not required to register with PACareerLink.gov.
- People who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation (UC) and federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) may now qualify for 13 additional weeks of payments through the state’s Unemployment Compensation Extended Benefits program.
In addition to regular state Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits, which provide roughly half of an individual’s full-time weekly income up to $572 per week, the federal CARES Act expanded UC benefits through several new programs:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) expands benefits to gig-economy workers, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals who are otherwise ineligible for UC.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular UC benefits, to all UC recipients.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides an additional 13 weeks of UC benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular 26 weeks of benefits, for a total of 39 weeks of coverage.
Other Financial Help
If you have seen a reduction in pay due to COVID-19 and are struggling to make your credit card or loan payments, contact your lender right away.
Regulatory agencies have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers impacted by the coronavirus.
Mortgage or Rent
If you can’t cover your mortgage payment or rent, contact your lender or landlord immediately. Do not wait until you’re behind on payments.
Some lenders may work out an agreement with you to waive late fees, set up a repayment plan or offer loan forbearance.
- Mortgage information: visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or find a housing counselor near you.
- Rental assistance: visit the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
On March 6, 2020, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman signed an emergency order prohibiting terminations by utilities that are under the PUC’s jurisdiction, including:
- Natural Gas
This memorandum is in place for as long as Governor Tom Wolf’s Proclamation of Disaster is in effect.
If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your service provider for possible emergency assistance programs.
Food pantries continue to operate throughout Pennsylvania, although some have updated hours and all are working on ways to connect people with food without risking contact.
Find a pantry near you, then give them a call to make arrangements.
Meals for Students
The Pennsylvania Department of Education received approval from the federal government to allow K-12 schools in Pennsylvania closed due to COVID-19 to serve meals offsite to students.
These meals will be available at no cost to low-income children and make it possible for kids to receive nutritious meals and snacks while schools are temporarily closed.
See a county map of schools and districts distributing meals at no cost to children under age 18. For more information, contact your local school.
Grocery Help for Low-Income Individuals
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps families, older adults, and individuals pay for groceries. Benefits are loaded onto an EBT card, which can then be used to purchase food at grocery stores, supermarkets, some farmers markets, and other stores that accept SNAP.
Emergency SNAP applications can be expedited and issued in five days. Pennsylvanians can apply for SNAP online.
Food for Women, Children, and Families
WIC helps with nutrition for pregnant women, nursing women, postpartum women, and infants and children younger than 5. Benefits can be used for approved grocery items at stores that accept WIC.
Apply by calling the toll-free hotline at 800-WIC-WINS, or start your WIC application online.
Meals for Older Adults
Area Agencies on Aging continue to provide meals for older adults throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Call your local Area Agency on Aging and request that you be connected with meals.
Certain Driver License Centers have reopened with limited services. Photo License Centers process photos only, and individuals must have a camera card for this service.
Driver’s License and Photo ID Card Renewals
All customers who renew their driver’s license or photo ID card online or through the mail will receive a new product using the most recent photo of that individual that exists in PennDOT’s system. No camera cards will be issued to these customers, and they will receive their new product by mail within 15 days. The renewal process is complete when the final product is received.
Both non-commercial and commercial drivers may renew their products through the mail.
Individuals who renewed their product on or before May 10, 2020 will receive a camera card in the mail and will need to visit a PennDOT Photo License Center to obtain an updated photo. Additionally, non-U.S. citizens must also visit a driver’s license center in person to complete a transaction.
Effective June 23, 2020, expiration dates for driver licenses, photo ID cards and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through July 31, 2020, have been extended until July 31, 2020. A camera card is considered a driver’s license, so it is covered by the same terms and conditions extending other driver’s license products.
Safety inspections and emissions inspections scheduled to expire from March 16 through May 31, 2020, the expiration date is extended through June 30, 2020.
Persons with Disabilities parking placards scheduled to expire from March 16 through May 31, 2020, the expiration date is extended through June 30, 2020.
Vehicle registrations of all classes which includes, but not limited to, mass transit vehicle registrations, apportioned vehicle registrations, fleet vehicle registrations, dealer plate registrations, temporary registrations and biennial farm exemption certificates scheduled to expire from March 16 through May 31, 2020, the expiration date is extended through June 30, 2020.
Registration, license, and ID renewal can be completed online along with over driver services.
The Department of Homeland Security has postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration. Find out more about REAL ID in Pennsylvania.
On June 22, Governor Wolf updated guidance for all sports permitted to operated during COVID-19.
- Coaches and adult personnel should wear face masks
- Athletes must be screened for COVID-19 and monitored for symptoms before and during games and practices
- Shared equipment needs to be sanitized
- Avoid sharing drinks
- Post an online safety plan
- Follow all CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines
- Allowed to practice or play on-site with fewer than 250 people
- Attendance of spectators in or directly outside of the venue is discouraged
- Gatherings must be limited to 250 people, and the facility as a whole may not exceed 50% total occupancy
- All spectators must practice social distancing
Pre-k to 12 School Sports
- Gatherings must be limited to 250 people, and the facility as a whole may not exceed 50% total occupancy
- No spectators allowed
Guidance and Resources
Guidance on dining was developed with help from the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association. No business is required to conduct in-person operations and should not do so if unable to follow applicable guidance.
Green Phase Dining
Retail food service businesses, including restaurants, and bars located in counties designated as being in the green phase are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas, so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, including maximum occupancy limits:
- Bar seating may be utilized if customers are seated and comply with physical distancing guideline of at least 6 feet or physical barriers between customers. Standing in a bar area will not be permitted.
- A maximum of four customers that have a common relationship may sit together at the bar, while adhering to the physical distancing guidelines or barriers between other customers.
Dining guidance provides businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry with specific details on operations, including following the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, available here, and provisions specific to mask-wearing, table-spacing, occupancy limits, sanitization, and implementation of a COVID-19 prevention plan, among other provisions to ensure worker and customer safety.
Governor Wolf issued and updated guidance that details procedures businesses must follow to conduct in-person operations in counties that move to the yellow and phases of reopening.
All businesses, including nonprofits, permitted to conduct in-person operations are subject to this guidance. This guidance is based on the building safety and business safety orders, under which nearly all life-sustaining businesses operated under during the red phase.
Guidance specific to Green Phase
In counties that have been designated as in the green phase, all businesses (including those restricted or prohibited in the yellow phase are authorized to conduct in-person operations as long as the businesses follow CDC and Department of Health guidelines, the Orders of the Governor and the Secretary of Health providing for the Continued Reopening of the Commonwealth, issued May 27, 2020, and other orders or guidance that may be required based on monitoring of public health indicators.
During the green phase, personal care services, including hair salons and barbershops, operating in the Green Phase counties must comply with the occupancy limitations specified above (no more than 50% of maximum capacity) and must operate by appointment only. Appointments or reservations are strongly encouraged for all indoor recreation and health and wellness facilities such as gyms or spas, and all other businesses where feasible.
Visitation to prisons and hospitals may resume for facilities operating in the counties specified in Section 1(A) above, subject to the determination of the individual facilities which may still limit visitation as necessary based on risk of COVID-19. Visitors who interact with residents and patients must be diligent regarding hygiene. Given the critical importance in limiting COVID-19 exposure in nursing homes, nursing home visitation restrictions will initially remain in place.
Gatherings and Events
Gatherings and events — such as meetings, concerts, conferences, fairs, festivals, sporting events, movie showings or theater performances — are subject to specific conditions within each phase of reopening. These conditions require that facilities limit the total number of individuals gathering for each discrete gathering or event within the facility, notwithstanding the maximum occupancy of the facility.
- In the Red Phase of reopening, gatherings for a planned or spontaneous event are limited to a maximum of 10 individuals.
- In the Yellow Phase of reopening, gatherings for a planned or spontaneous event are limited to a maximum of 25 individuals.
- In the Green Phase of reopening, gatherings for a planned or spontaneous event are limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
State and Local Governments
Local political units were not explicitly required to suspend in-person operations under the business closure orders issued by the Governor and the Secretary on March 19, 2020. However, they were advised to curtail in-person operations to the extent practicable and to follow COVID-19 mitigation guidance provided by the Department and the CDC. Similarly, local political units are not required to follow the Secretary’s building and business safety orders; however, they are advised to implement the protocols that it outlines to the extent practicable.
Although the Commonwealth is not a business that is directly covered by this guidance, Governor Wolf has chosen to implement the practices outlined here where possible as an example for other employers and employees in the Commonwealth. Local political units should use best judgment in exercising their authorities and issuing implementation directives and guidance. All such decisions should appropriately balance public health and safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical services and functions. Government employees and contractors should continue to operate under the direction of their supervisors.
Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations established by this guidance. These institutions are strongly encouraged to institute social distancing and other mitigation measures like masking at their gatherings.
All businesses that have been conducting their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking must continue telework operations for each of those employees.
All businesses conducting in-person operations must:
- Clean and disinfect high-touch areas frequently and continue to regularly clean all other areas of the building(s).
- Establish and implement a plan in case the business is exposed to a probably or confirmed case of COVID-19 that includes:
- Securing and decontaminating the affected areas by:
- Closing off areas visited by the person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID19;
- Opening outside doors and windows and using ventilation fans to circulate air in the area;
- Waiting at least 24 hours, or as long as practical, before cleaning and disinfecting the affected area;
- Cleaning and disinfecting all shared areas such as offices, bathrooms, break rooms, shared electronic equipment (tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls) and ATM machines used by the sick person;
- Identifying employees who were in close contact (within about 6 feet for 10 minutes or more) with a person with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 from the period 48 hours before symptom onset to the time at which the patient isolated.
- If any employee who was in close contact remain) asymptomatic, the employees should adhere to the practices set out by the CDC in its April 8, 2020 Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practice for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19;
- If the affected employee becomes sick during the workday, the person should be sent home immediately. Surfaces in the employee’s workspace should be cleaned and disinfected. Information on other employees who had contact with the ill employee during the time the employee had symptoms and 48 hours prior to symptoms should be compiled. Others at the workplace with close contact within 6 feet of the employee during this time are considered exposed;
- Promptly notify employees who were close contacts of any known exposure to COVID19 at the business premises, consistent with applicable confidentiality laws.
- Taking each employee’s temperature before they enter the business and sending home those who have a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher. Ensure employees practice social distancing while waiting to have temperatures screened;
- Informing employees that if they have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath), they should notify their supervisor and stay home;
- Advising sick employees to follow CDC-recommended steps, including not returning to work until the CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with health care providers and state and local health departments;
- Employers are encouraged to implement liberal paid time off for employees who do not return to work for the reasons set forth above.
- Securing and decontaminating the affected areas by:
- Prevent large groups from entering or leaving the building by staggering work start and stop times;
- Limit the number of people in employee common areas, like locker rooms or break rooms, and ensure these areas are cleaned frequently;
- Conduct meetings and trainings virtually. If a meeting needs to be held in person, limit the number of employees to 10 and maintain a social distance of six feet;
- Make sure employees have access to soap and water to wash their hands, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes;
- Provide non-medical masks for employees to wear at all times and make it mandatory to wear masks while on the work site. Employers may approve masks obtained or made by employees according to Department of Health policies;
- Make sure the facility has enough employees as applicable to follow these protocols and conduct business effectively and safely;
- Discourage non-essential visitors from entering the business premises;
- Communicate these procedures to all employees to ensure that everyone knows how to be safe.
Protecting Employees That Serve the Public
Any business that serves the public inside a building or other defined area must follow the above guidance and take the additional precautions listed below:
- Conduct business with the public by appointment only, whenever possible;
- If appointment-only service is not feasible, limit the number of people inside the building to no more than 50% of the total maximum occupancy;
- Modify the hours of business so that there is enough time to clean and restock;
- Install shields or other barriers at registers and check-out areas to physically separate cashiers and customers, or take other measures to maintain social distancing between customers and employees;
- Encourage customers to use online ordering by providing delivery or pick-up options;
- Designate a specific time for people at high risk, including those over the age of 65 to use the business at least once a week;
- Require all customers to wear masks while on the premises. Businesses that provide medication, medical supplies or groceries must provide an alternate, no contact, means of delivering goods for customers who cannot wear a mask.
- However, individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition (including children under the age of 2 years per CDC guidance) may enter the premises and are not required to provide documentation of such medical condition.
- In businesses with multiple check-out lanes, limit use to every other register. After every hour, rotate customers and employees to the previously closed registers and clean the previously open registers and the surrounding areas;
- Schedule handwashing breaks for employees at least every hour; and
- Assign an employee to wipe down carts and handbaskets before the customer uses it.
No business is required to conduct in-person operations, and should not do so if the business is unable to do so in accordance with this guidance. Businesses permitted to conduct in-person operations that are unable or unwilling to comply with these requirements may engage in curbside delivery to customers so long as strict social distancing and other mitigation measures are followed.
Businesses serving the public that inherently involve close contact with customers, and therefore cannot attain social distancing, are not permitted to conduct in-person operations until the county in which the business is located transitions to the green phase, when the building safety and business safety orders are lifted.
Enforcement of the Secretary’s Order Directing Building Safety Measures began at 12:00 AM on Monday, April 6, 2020. Enforcement of the Secretary’s Order Directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Protection Order began at 8:00 PM on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
The governor has directed the following state agencies and local officials to enforce orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic to the full extent of the law:
- Department of Health
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Labor and Industry
- Pennsylvania State Police
- Local officials, using their resources to enforce closure orders within their jurisdictions.
- Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Law enforcement officers should refer to Enforcement Guidance available online here.
If employees or customers want to report possible health and safety violations in the workplace related to COVID-19:
- File a complaint with a local health department or a law enforcement agency.
- Submit this webform to the PA Department of Health.
- Review OSHA guidance and, if appropriate, file a complaint at OSHA.gov.
Requirements for Communicating with Employees and Any On-site Customers about COVID-19 Safety
Businesses conducting in-person operations or serving the public are required to make employees and customers aware of the guidance provided by the commonwealth to keep people at their establishment safe. In addition, businesses are required to publicly acknowledge their responsibility to conduct their operations to ensure the health and safety of employees.
Businesses must print, sign, and post the “COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses” flyer on their premises. Businesses must post the signed flyer in employee common space and, if the business serves the public, the business must also post the flyer near the business’s public entrance(s) in prominent location(s).
Businesses must sign the flyer on the space provided. The signature is an acknowledgement that the owner or management is aware of the COVID-19 safety procedures and understands their responsibilities to carry out the guidance and procedures.
The flyer must be signed by the business’s corporate officer, site manager, site foreperson, or equivalent. The flyer also contains a space for the business to indicate the employee who is the “Pandemic Safety Officer,” or the person in charge of the COVID-19 safety procedures for the business (specific workplace). The signed acknowledgement and Pandemic Safety Officer designation should not be returned to the Commonwealth – it must be simply posted and available if requested by local law enforcement.
The Commonwealth encourages businesses to share this guidance or the flyer electronically with employees as well. There is no requirement to submit a safety response plan to the Commonwealth.
NOTE: There are two versions of the flyer. One is a document that can be printed on ONE 8.5×14-inch (legal) piece of paper. The other is a document that can be printed on TWO 8.5×11-inch (letter) pieces of paper. Businesses can choose which version to use and post and do not have to use both versions.
Masking FAQs for Businesses
Must my employees and customers continue to wear masks in the Green Phase of reopening?
Regarding customers, the governor’s Green Phase order states, “require all customers to wear masks while on premises, and deny entry to individuals not wearing masks, unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, in which case the business must provide alternative methods of pick-up or delivery of such goods; however, individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition (including children under the age of 2 years per CDC guidance) may enter the premises and are not required to provide documentation of such medical condition.”
Regarding employees, the order states, “provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and 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. Employers may approve masks obtained or made by employees in accordance with Department of Health guidance.”
Does a disposable face shield suffice in lieu of a mask?
A disposable face shield would suffice in lieu of a mask. Employers may approve masks obtained or made by employees in accordance with guidance on homemade masks found on the Department of Health’s website.
If a customer refuses to wear a mask, must they be turned away/refused service?
Yes, except that if a business provides medication, medical supplies, or food, that business must offer another means for the customer to purchase goods if the customer is unable to wear a mask. Those means could include home delivery or contactless curbside pick-up.
Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition (including children under the age of 2 years per CDC guidance) may enter the premises and are not required to provide documentation of such medical condition.
If the customer is refused service, and if the business is not able to provide a mask, the business should consider providing information on mask making, distributing “how to” flyers, or sharing information about where masks can be purchased. Additionally, businesses should advise the customer that masks are required; tell the customer that only those who cannot wear a mask due to a medical conditions may enter the premises without a mask; and advise the customer that almost any face covering would be acceptable. If a customer is belligerent or aggressive, there is no expectation that an employee should force a customer to comply or put themselves in a dangerous situation.
How do businesses avoid confrontation with customers who do not wear a mask?
Businesses should consider how they would deal with a customer who may attempt to enter the business without a shirt or shoes, and may wish to react similarly. Businesses should consider giving customers resources on how to make their own mask or provide a mask.
COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses Flyer
Resources and Loans
COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program
We are no longer accepting applications for the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program. All funding has been exhausted. However, low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania is now available through the U.S. Small Business Administration (see below).
Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information can be found here as they become available.
U.S. Small Business Administration
On March 19, 2020, Governor Wolf announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Loan applications can also be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Completed applications should be returned to the local DLOC or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.