On May 15, 2020, Governor Wolf announced that York County would move from the “red phase” to the “yellow phase” of the Commonwealth’s re-opening plan. The County will shift to the yellow phase on Friday, May 22, 2020. The change in status will impact many for-profit businesses and non-profit entities in York County and in the other counties in central Pennsylvania moving into the yellow phase. The special rules applicable to businesses in the yellow phase are summarized below.
The yellow phase of the reopening plan is designed to allow many businesses to re-open, subject to specific restrictions. Notably, businesses and their employees are still required to work remotely if possible. Many businesses that cannot operate remotely can begin to conduct in-person operations, and their employees are permitted to return to work to the extent that their job, or portions of that job, cannot be done remotely. Thus, some employees might return to work on a partial remote/partial in-person schedule to accommodate responsibilities that require in-person completion. The restrictions imposed on in-person operations include disinfecting high-touch areas frequently, implementing a plan for COVID-19 exposure, preventing large groups from entering or leaving the work place building, conducting meetings virtually, and requiring that employees wear face masks at all times. Specific details concerning the yellow phase restrictions can be found here. Additionally, businesses must sign and post the “COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses” notice in common spaces, or in a prominent location at the public entrance for businesses serving the public.
Retail businesses are subject to additional restrictions. They include conducting business by appointment when possible, limiting customers to 50% of occupancy capacity, installing shields or barriers at check-out areas, requiring customers to wear a mask while on the premises, and designating a time for at-risk customers to shop once a week. Unfortunately, not all businesses will be able to reopen during the yellow phase. Mandatory closures of personal care services, indoor recreation, and health and wellness facilities remain in place. This includes “schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons.”
As always, the Business Group at Stock and Leader can help business owners navigate the Pennsylvania reopening plan. Contact a member of Stock and Leader’s Business Law team for further guidance: