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Frequently Asked Questions for the May 2021 Announcements Regarding the Governor's and Secretary of Health's Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Orders

Created: May 13, 2021

The Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health for Mitigation and Enforcement dated November 23, 2020 was subsequently amended on March 1, 2021April 1, 2021 and May 13, 2021.. The below Frequently Asked Questions reflect the May 3, 2021 announcement and May 11, 2021 announcement about amending and lifting the mitigation orders.

Indoor and Outdoor Event Capacity

How will the event capacity limits change on May 17, 2021?
On May 17, 2021, at 12:01 AM event and gathering maximum occupancy limits for indoor events and gatherings will increase to 50 percent, and limits for  outdoor events and gatherings will increase to 75%. This change will apply to temporary events being held in all settings, including time-limited events at restaurants and entertainment venues. This update will not prevent municipalities, school districts, and venues from continuing and implementing stricter mitigation efforts. The Wolf Administration encourages all businesses, restaurants, and venues to continue to follow CDC guidance.

Current CDC guidance strongly recommends that social distancing  continue in businesses, venues, restaurants, and schools that host events or gatherings.

Expiration of Orders

Which targeted mitigation orders will expire on May 31, 2021?
Most sections of the Secretary of Health's Mitigation and Enforcement Order and the Governor's Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Order, and all subsequent amendments will expire on May 31, 2021.  The Department of Health continues to strongly encourage all businesses, school activities, and individual Pennsylvanians to follow existing CDC guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including implementing physical distancing, practicing hand hygiene, and other strategies.

The Updated Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Requiring Universal Face Coverings will remain in effect until 70 % of all eligible adults are fully vaccinated.

Will businesses be required to maintain 6 feet of physical distance after the orders expire on May 31, 2021?
While  businesses will not be required to implement any of the provisions in the mitigation orders after they expire on May 31, 2021, the Department of Health continues to strongly encourage all businesses and Pennsylvanians to follow existing CDC guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including implementing physical distancing, practicing hand hygiene , and other strategies.

The targeted mitigation orders do not apply to health care providers.  Health care providers should continue operating under industry specific state and federal guidance. The requirements such as testing and reporting  new cases will remain in place for hospitals and long-term care facilities. Maintaining requirements for hospitals and long-term care facilities will allow Pennsylvania to continue to closely monitor COVID-19 spread while lifting other restrictions. 

Will the lifting of targeted mitigation orders result in any changes to the current contact tracing and quarantine process after May 31, 2021?
No, lifting the targeted mitigation orders does not change the process for case investigation or contact tracing, or subsequent isolation or quarantine guidance that may result from those processes. These essential public health measures will remain, just as they do for many other diseases, as they are not part of any order of the Secretary of Health or Governor.

Can local municipalities, jurisdictions, and businesses implement or continue stricter mitigation strategies after May 31, 2021?
Yes, local municipalities, school districts, businesses and jurisdictions may implement stricter mitigation strategies now and after May 31, 2021. The Department of Health continues to strongly encourage all businesses, schools and individual Pennsylvanians to follow existing CDC guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including implementing physical distancing, practicing hand hygiene, and other strategies.