Legal Update

Jul 15, 2020

Pennsylvania Mandates Telework (If Possible) and Imposes Other Business Restrictions Due to Rising COVID Cases

By: Daniel Small, Jacob Oslick , and Loren Gesinsky
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On July 15, 2020, the Wolf Administration announced an executive order imposing various restrictions that are set to go into effect as of 12:01 a.m. on July 16, 2020

Critically, the order mandates that “all” businesses must conduct their operations remotely “in whole or in part” when telework is possible.  When telework is not possible, businesses may continue in-person operations if they fully comply with applicable orders previously issued, including the business safety order, the worker safety order, and the masking order.  

Two important notes regarding the telework provision.  First, the order does not make distinctions between life-sustaining businesses and non-life-sustaining businesses nor provide any exceptions for any particular industries, but rather emphasizes that it applies to “all” businesses.  Second, the order does seem to permit businesses to make distinctions between individual employees and/or positions to determine whether each employee or position is able to telework by noting that employers subject to the telework provision must conduct their operations remotely “in whole or in part.”

The order also places restrictions on bars and restaurants (e.g., 25% capacity limits), nightclubs (complete shutdown), indoor gatherings (no more than 25 persons, including staff), and outdoor gatherings (no more than 250 persons, including staff). 

The order further provides that enforcement mechanisms are effective immediately and may include “fines, business closure or other applicable enforcement measures.” 

Seyfarth continues to monitor the Wolf Administration’s business-related orders in response to COVID-19 and will provide further updates as available.