Vlog and Blog COMBO! COVID-19 and Thanksgiving. Plus, a new telecommuting mandate in PA


Amy and Eric are talking COVID-19 and Thanksgiving on YouTube. Only in 2020…

I had intended to keep the typing to a minimum today by sending you over to The Employer Handbook YouTube Channel, where I posted this video in which my colleague, Amy Epstein Gluck, and I tried to answer the question: “How should businesses handle employee travel for Thanksgiving?

Then Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf went and signed this new Executive Order yesterday that significantly changes how local employers will do business for the foreseeable future.

So, let’s discuss the order (and this one too from Dr. Rachel Levine).

TL;DR: Telework is mandatory unless impossible. Businesses with in-person workers must follow strict safety measures, including cleaning, temperature checks, social distancing and masking, and contact tracing.

You can read all about the specific risk mitigation requirements here (starting on page two). There are also specific additional requirements for bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, gyms, nightclubs,  and events and gatherings.

Special exceptions apply to religious gatherings.

Plus, the Wolf administration has added some liability protection for all businesses that maintain in-person operations and are open to the public. As noted in this press release, businesses will receive immunity from civil liability only related to the Secretary’s masking order, given that individuals and entities are engaged in essential emergency services activities and disaster services activities when enforcing the order.

But, let’s say that you’re not considered an essential business. What happens if your company violates the order?

  • First Offense: Warning letter, “rigorous cleaning,” and “other mitigation measures as necessary to ensure compliance with this Order.”
  • Second Offense: Citation or fine or both. Plus, 24-hour shutdown, plus the same cleaning and mitigation measures.
  • Third Offense: Closure of at least 24 hours, additional fines and penalties, and referral for criminal prosecution.

The new rules take effect on November 27.

In the meantime, I’ll be back tomorrow with my updated 2020 list of the best Thanksgiving sides.


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