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Frequently Asked Questions for the Governor's and Secretary of Health's Mitigation, Enforcement and Immunity Orders and Limited Time Targeted Mitigation Orders

Updated: January 4, 2021

The time-limited mitigation orders that went into effect on December 12, 2020 expired on January 4, 2021 at 8 am. With the expiration of the time-limited orders, mitigation efforts will revert to mitigation orders in place on December 11. Read Governor Wolf's Announcement of the Lifting of Time Limited Mitigation on January 4. The below Frequently Asked Questions will be updated to reflect the Order that is currently in effect.

General

Are the Orders mandatory?
Yes, it is mandatory that all applicable businesses follow the standards set forth in the Orders. These Orders are issued under the Disease Prevention and Control Law (Act) and are enforceable under that act.

Is there a waiver process or exceptions to the Governor's and Secretary of Health's Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Protections Orders and guidance to promote worker and business safety?
No, there is no waiver process. The Orders and guidance apply to all businesses other than health care providers.

Is there a waiver process for businesses or exceptions to the Governor's and Secretary of Health's Limited Time Targeted Mitigation Order?
No, there is no waiver process. The Orders and guidance apply to all businesses other than health care providers.

Do the telework, cleaning and mitigation protocols, and general requirements for businesses in Governor's and Secretary's Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Protections Orders still apply while the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders are in effect?
Yes, the Governor's and Secretary of Health's Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Protections Orders are still in place except in areas where they conflict with the new Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders.

Telework

May a "life-sustaining" or "essential" business or those that received exemptions during the color phases disregard the requirement to telework?
No, there are no exemptions to the telework requirement. Telework is to be utilized unless it is not possible to do so.

Employers should make the best decisions to protect the health and safety of their employees.  Employers with open physical locations must follow the guidance developed by the Commonwealth in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread and to protect the safety of workers. If an employer requests that an employee work in-person and that employee believes that they cannot do so, they should speak with their employer or human resources representative about their concerns with on-site work.

Cleaning, Mitigation, and Other Requirements

When an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, what type of cleaning is required?
Facilities must clean and disinfect all spaces, especially commonly used rooms and shared electronic equipment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance on appropriate cleaning. If more than 7 days have passed since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.

Businesses are to continue routine cleaning and disinfection regardless of whether there is a known positive case of COVID-19. This includes everyday practices that businesses and communities normally use to maintain a healthy environment.

Can a business use a third-party vendor or third-party service for cleaning?
Yes, businesses can use an established or new vendor to comply with cleaning requirements.

If a facility is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or another federal regulator and cannot comply with some of the cleaning requirements because it cannot open up doors and windows in a clean room environment, what should it do?
The business should follow FDA regulations or the rules of other federal regulators on this topic and should consider the safety of its facility and employees while complying. 

Does an entire facility need to be shut down in order to do appropriate cleaning?
No. Businesses with a campus of multiple facilities or a building with multiple offices only need to close and clean the building or area of the building where an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 has worked. However, businesses should be mindful of bathrooms, breakrooms, building lobbies and other frequently visited or common areas where the person who tested positive may have been.

Are building security desks required to have shields or barriers to separate guard staff?
Shields or barriers are not required at security desks; however, businesses should consider how much interaction their security staff have with customers or employees. If security staff have interactions with the public, the Department of Health (Department) recommends the installation of a barrier. Per the Secretary's Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings, masks or face covering must be worn.

If a company is currently staggering employee breaks, but is not staggering shift start and stop times, is it required to implement staggered shift start and stop times as well?
Employers should take all possible steps to encourage physical distancing, including staggering shift start and stop times, as well as staggering breaks.

What are the physical distancing guidelines for elevator usage?
Businesses should use their best judgment based on the square footage of the elevator. The Department recommends that business allow as few people as possible to use an elevator at one time, while also discouraging crowds gathering while waiting for the elevator. Floor markings or other signage can be used to show 6-foot distances.

If a business adheres to the physical distancing and best practices can it open additional registers?
Businesses with checkout counters and registers must take appropriate steps to stagger registers and counter use so that those areas may be cleaned appropriately. Businesses must also install plexiglass shields at registers and check out areas or take other measures to ensure physical distancing.

Do businesses need to designate specific shopping time for high-risk persons?
Yes, businesses must designate a specific time at least once every week for high-risk and elderly persons to use the business.

Businesses are required to check the temperature of employees. Can these temperature checks be done by employees at home through self-screening or symptom screening?
Businesses must implement temperature screening before employees enter the business, prior to the start of each shift or, for employees who do not work shifts, before the employees start work, and must send employees home that have an elevated temperature or fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Businesses may allow employees to screen at home and should implement a policy for employees to report their temperature or symptoms to the employer on a daily basis. This policy must include a provision that would not allow employees with symptoms to come onto the worksite. This can be done in several ways:

  • If thermometers can be procured:
    • Employers may take their employees' temperatures on site utilizing best practices and physical distancing.
    • Employees may self-screen taking their temperature at home with a business-provided thermometer or their own personal thermometer.
  • If thermometers cannot be procured:
    • Employers may ask their employees to conduct a questionnaire-based screening at the worksite.
    • Employees may self-screen by conducting a questionnaire-based screening at their home.

Daily self-screening is encouraged even if the employee is not scheduled to enter the worksite. For example, if an employee is off for the weekend, performing a self -screening is not required but is good public health practice.

Employers should consider encouraging their employees to use the COVID ALERT PA MOBILE APP and its symptom screening tool.  

Is there any specific guidance regarding the sourcing/procurement of thermometers?
No. Employers should use regular supply opportunities or visit the Department of Community and Economic Development's (DCED's) Business-2-Business portal

Do businesses have the authority to issue temperature checks for customers or the general public at a facility?
Businesses should consult with their counsel about the scope of their authority to require temperature checks

Is a building owner or management company required to take the temperatures of tenants?
The building owner is not required to conduct temperature screenings of tenants.

Does the requirement to conduct temperature screenings only apply after an employer is aware of a potential or actual exposure?
No, employers must implement temperature screening before employees enter the business, prior to the start of each shift or, for employees who do not work shifts, before the employee starts work, whether or not the employer is aware of a potential or actual exposure .

What do I do if an employee is sick during the workday?
If an employee becomes sick during the workday, or reports to work with symptoms, the individual must be sent home immediately. An employee who has symptoms of COVID-19 before reporting to work should follow the employer's policy for calling out sick the employee's supervisor and remain home.

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 who are not in a health care setting need to isolate at home for the time period indicated in PAHAN 518 or its successor. If an employee is awaiting COVID-19 test results due to exposure or symptoms they should follow the Department's guidance in COVID-19 Patient Instructions for Self-Isolation While Awaiting Laboratory Results.

Businesses are encouraged to institute flexible leave policies.

If someone arrives at work in one location and is temperature screened, then drives to another work facility, does the person have to be temperature screened again?
Employers are not required to conduct temperature screening in more than one location.

If someone begins their workday in another state and drives into Pennsylvania, do they have to complete a temperature screening once they get to their work destination in Pennsylvania?
If the person checked their temperature or symptoms at their starting workplace or at home they do not need to be rescreened; however, if they were not screened at their initial location, they must be screened upon commencing work in the Commonwealth.

How does a business go about implementing temperature or symptom checks for staff that work in a leased facility, but do not work for the business (e.g., cleaning staff)?
The employer is responsible for implementing temperature screenings or implementing self- screening policies for their employees. In the example, the employer of the cleaning staff is responsible for instituting a temperature screening policy.

Contact Tracing, Quarantine, and Isolation

What is the definition of isolation?
Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. For information on discontinuing non-healthcare isolation see PAHAN 518 or its successor.

What is the definition of quarantine?
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. More information on quarantine duration can be found in PAHAN 538 or its successor.

What is a close contact?
The CDC defines a close contact as "Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated."

More information from the CDC can be found here.

See PAHAN 533 or its successor for more information on determining a close contact.

What do I do if I identify my employees as a close contact?
Those who are a close contact should be immediately sent home from the worksite and should not return to the worksite until the quarantine period has ended.

Does this apply to all businesses including "life sustaining" or "essential"?
The Governor's and the Secretary's Orders and subsequent amendments are applicable to all industries unless listed as an exception in Section 11 of the Secretary's Order.

Do all close contacts need to quarantine?
Yes, all close contacts must quarantine according to Department guidelines. See PAHAN 538 or its successor for information on quarantine duration.

What happens when my employee was in close contact with someone who is positive, but asymptomatic?
Persons who are in close contact with a person who tested positive but is asymptomatic are still required to quarantine according to Department guidelines. See PAHAN 538 or its successor for information on quarantine duration

Capacity Limits

How do the Governor's and the Secretary's Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders affect my business?
While the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders are in effect:

  • All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry, including bars, restaurants, and private catered events is prohibited.
  • All in-person businesses serving the public within a building or defined area may only operate at up to 50% of the maximum capacity stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy, except as limited by existing Orders to a smaller capacity limit.
  • Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities, including gyms at apartment buildings, are prohibited.
  • All in-person retail businesses in the entertainment industry serving the public within a building or indoor defined area, including, but not limited to, theaters, concert venues, museums, movie theaters, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, private clubs, and all other similar entertainment, recreational or social facilities, are prohibited from operation. 

The below chart is a quick reference guide to the limitations found within the Orders. For specific details please refer to the Orders.

Business Type Indoor Outdoor
In Person Business Serving the Public50% Capacity50% Capacity
Businesses Not Serving the PublicFollow Telework RequirementsFollow Telework Requirements
Health CareFollow DOH and CDC GuidelinesFollow DOH and CDC Guidelines
Entertainment IndustryTemporarily Prohibited50% Capacity
Gyms/Fitness IndustryTemporarily Prohibited50% Capacity
Dining/Bars/Food Service IndustryTemporarily Prohibited

50% Capacity

When no fire code is published 25 people per 1,000 feet is allowed.

Refer to Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public

College AthleticsNo spectatorsNo Spectators
Professional AthleticsNo spectatorsNo Spectators
Youth and Adult Recreational AthleticsTemporarily SuspendedTemporarily Suspended
School Athletics and Extracurricular ActivitiesTemporarily SuspendedTemporarily Suspended
Government or Public Buildings Serving the PublicFollow Telework Requirements and 50% CapacityFollow Telework Requirements and 50% Capacity
Judiciary or Court FunctionsFollow DOH and CDC GuidelinesFollow DOH and CDC Guidelines


The Order says "businesses serving the public." If I don't have a public facing element of my business, at what capacity am I allowed to be open?

Businesses who do not have a public facing element must follow the telework requirements found in the Governor's and the Secretary's Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Protections Orders. Those employees who can telework, must telework. Those for whom it is impossible to work remotely may work in person.

My business is outdoors. What capacity am I allowed to be open?
Businesses serving the public who operate fully outdoors may operate at up to 50% of the maximum capacity stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy at any given time unless specifically subject to other requirements as noted in the Governor's and the Secretary's Orders.

How do you define outdoor vs. Indoor?
Indoor businesses operate in a fully or largely enclosed (three-walls or more). Outdoor businesses operate in a completely or largely open-air space (open on at least two sides).  A tent is allowed for outdoors; however, to be regarded as outdoor space, tents must be open on two sides. Enclosed tents are considered indoor spaces. Enclosed structures, including enclosed tents, would limit air circulation and undo the benefits of being outdoor.

What are considered businesses in the entertainment industry?
The entertainment industry includes concert venues, museums, movie theaters, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, private clubs, and all other similar entertainment, recreational or social facilities.

How are public buildings like libraries and government buildings that serve the public allowed to operate?
Public and government buildings that serve the public should follow the telework requirements found in the Governor's and the Secretary's Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Protections Orders. Those who can telework, must telework. Those working in person should limit capacity to 50%.

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to the judiciary or court functions, such as jury selection and trials?
The court system is responsible for taking the necessary actions to protect the safety of court staff, court users, judges and the public, guided by general CDC and Department recommendations. 

Are amusement parks allowed to be open under the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders?
Outdoor entertainment elements of an amusement park are allowed to operate under the Orders at 50% capacity. Indoor elements are not permitted to operate. Businesses should be mindful that discrete events or gatherings held within a larger business are subject to gathering limitations.

All individuals present must comply with physical distancing and the Secretary's Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings issued on November 18, 2020 or it's subsequent amendments.

Can a business in the entertainment industry that may otherwise be closed host an event or gathering?
Yes, businesses may host events, but must follow all gathering limitations and restrictions imposed by the Time-Limited Targeted Mitigation Order and other relevant guidance.

Do the capacity limitations include staff and employees?
Yes, all individuals present count towards gathering limitations and must comply with the Face Covering Order and physical distancing guidelines.

How are personal care services allowed to operate under the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders?
Personal care services may operate according to the Governor's and the Secretary's Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Protections Orders. Additionally, entities regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of State should follow the appropriate guidance from their licensing board.

How are gyms and fitness facilities allowed to operate under the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders?
Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities, including gyms in apartment buildings, are prohibited. Outdoor operations may continue. All individuals present at an outdoor fitness facility must comply with the Face Covering Order and practice physical distancing.

How should hotel pools or recreational swimming facilities operate?
All in-person retail businesses serving the public within a building or indoor defined area in the entertainment industry including swimming pools and hotel pool facilities are prohibited from operation. Additionally, all organized athletic contests, competitions, scrimmages, and practices regardless of what they are called, with the exception of professional and collegiate sports activities, are prohibited.

Bars, Restaurants, and Catered Events

How do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders affect restaurants and bars?
All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry, including bars, restaurants, and private catered events, is prohibited.

Outdoor dining, take-out food services and take-out alcohol sales are permitted and may continue, subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.

In addition to capacity limitations, restaurants must follow The Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, dated May 27, 2020, as updated October 9, 2020, along with any future updates.

Can beer, wine, or cocktails to-go be consumed at outdoor dining establishments?
No.  Beer, wine and cocktails purchased "to go" may not be consumed on-premises; however, to-go service at venues such as golf courses may permit beverages to be consumed on the course, but may not permit beverages to be consumed in areas where individuals may congregate (picnic tables, patios, etc.).

If I am seated at an outdoor dining establishment, can alcohol be served?
Yes, outdoor dining must follow the limitations identified in the Governor's and Secretary of Health's Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Protections Orders as well as The Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, dated May 27, 2020, as updated October 9, 2020, along with any future updates.

Can breweries, distilleries and wineries still operate?
All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry, including, but not limited to, bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs, and private catered events, is prohibited.

Outdoor dining, take-out food services and take-out alcohol sales are permitted and may continue, subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.

What restrictions must be followed for outdoor dining establishments?
Outdoor dining must follow the limitations identified in the Governor's and the Secretary of Health's Orders as well as The Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, dated May 27, 2020, as updated October 9, 2020, along with any future updates.

What is the definition of indoor vs. outdoor dining? Would a tent with walls be considered outdoor?
Indoor dining operates in a fully or largely enclosed (three-walls or more). Outdoor businesses operate in a completely or largely open-air space (open on at least two sides).  A tent is allowed for outdoors; however, to be regarded as outdoor space, tents must be open on two sides. Enclosed tents are considered indoor spaces. Enclosed structures, including enclosed tents, would limit air circulation and undo the benefits of being outdoor.

How do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to food trucks?
Food trucks are permitted to operate but must be counted in occupancy limitations and should not attend a festival or gathering that has exceeded the occupancy limitations. 

How do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to casinos and casino floor service?
All in-person businesses serving the public within a building or defined area in the entertainment industry including casinos are prohibited from operation.

What does this mean for self-certification?
While the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders are in effect all in-person indoor dining is prohibited. No exceptions are given to those who are self-certified.  At the expiration of those Orders, the self-certification program and the terms of the Mitigation, Enforcement and Immunity Protections Orders will be reinstated.

Outdoor dining may continue to operate and must follow the limitations identified in the Governor's and the Secretary of Health's Orders as well as The Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, dated May 27, 2020, as updated October 9, 2020, along with any future updates.

Events and Gatherings

What is an event or gathering?
The Limited-Time Mitigation Orders define an event or gathering is a temporary grouping of individuals for defined purposes, that takes place over a limited timeframe, such as hours or days. For example, events and gatherings include fairs, festivals, concerts, or shows and groupings that occur within larger, more permanent businesses, such as shows or performances within amusement parks, individual showings of movies on a single screen/auditorium within a multiplex, business meetings or conferences, or each party or reception within a multi-room venue.

Conversely, groups of people who share a space within a building in the ordinary course of operations, such as in an office building, classroom, licensed child care and non-licensed school-age programs, production floor or similar regularly occurring operation of a business or organization, are not events or gatherings

What if I am hosting an event or gathering within my business?
While the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders are in effect, indoor gatherings of more than 10 persons are prohibited and outdoor gatherings of more than 50 persons are prohibited.  At the expiration of the Orders, the terms of the Mitigation, Enforcement and Liability Protections Orders will be reinstated. 

Under the Mitigation, Enforcement and Liability Protections Orders, gatherings and events such as meetings, wedding receptions, catered events, concerts, conferences, fairs, festivals, sporting events, performances, and similar events are subject to specific conditions. Specifically, facilities and venues must limit the total number of individuals gathering at one time for any discrete gathering or event within the facility or venue.

All facilities and venues must enforce physical distancing requirements, which may further limit occupancy.

Why did the administration choose gathering limits?
Experts universally say limitations on gatherings are essential to limit spread of the virus. Nearly every state in the country has restrictions on the number of occupants at events and gatherings. Most states use a hard cap to limit large gatherings, regardless of the size of the space.

Employing tactics such as event capacity does not only show us how much risk there is but shows that lowering risk is possible.

Why do indoor events have a lower capacity than outdoor?
The virus even more easily spreads indoors person-to-person meaning any person at an indoor gathering is at a higher risk, according to a nearly universal assessment of experts. The CDC advises that COVID-19 can spread, in some cases, through the air to people who are even more than six feet away from an infectious person when indoors. For this reason, it is vital to keep capacity limits low and encourage physical distancing.

Do the gathering limitations in the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders include staff?
Yes, all individuals present count towards gathering limitations and must comply with the Face Covering Order and physical distancing guidelines.

Are event hosts required to maintain a list of all guests in attendance?
Yes. Event hosts must maintain a list of all guests in attendance including phone number and expected location 14 days after the event. This information may be critical for contact tracing or further outreach. Information provided to the Department in the course of its disease control function is confidential and is not released unless to do so furthers the purpose of the act or is required by law.

Do attendees need to be physically distanced while at an event?
Yes. It is imperative that attendees practice physical distancing while attending an event. Organizers should maintain at minimum 6-foot physical distancing radius between household members or individuals that arrive together. Consider both horizontal space (side to side) and vertical space (front to back) when physical distancing.

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to funeral homes?
Yes. Additionally, licensed funeral homes should refer to the State Registrar Notice for more information.

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to instrumental concerts?
Concerts given by instrumental groups indoors must comply with the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders indoor gathering limit of 10 persons.  Musicians must practice physical distancing. The CDC recommends that groups consider temporarily suspending musical performances that involve singing or playing wind instruments. If such events are held, the CDC recommends that musicians should be spaced as far apart as feasible, ideally farther than 6 feet apart.  

Are fairs permitted under the Limited Time Targeted Mitigation Orders?
Fairs are an event and are subject to the indoor and outdoor gathering limitations.

How do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to drive-in movie theatres or events held at drive-in theaters?
Drive-in movies or events may still occur under the Orders. The drive-in complex or special event organizers must post and enforce rules regarding physical distancing, mask wearing when outside of the car, and generally encourage people to stay in their cars and have strict procedures for reducing the number of people at points where persons might congregate, such as restrooms or concession stands.

How should events with both indoor and outdoor components be handled under the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders?
Events with both indoor and outdoor components are subject to both the indoor and outdoor capacity provisions of the Orders. Using the gathering requirements, an outdoor space can hold 50 individuals and an indoor space can hold 10 individuals. If a wedding was held in this space, 50 individuals would be allowed to be in the outdoor event space with no more than 10 people inside at any given time. Events should also prepare and make arrangements for poor weather. 

For outdoor events with seating or gatherings under unenclosed tents, must the occupancy be calculated based upon the tent area only?
An outdoor gathering with an unenclosed tent may only host 50 guests per the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders.

Can conference facilities operate per the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders?
A conference facility that is able to create physical barriers between discrete events in separate physical locations may follow the occupancy limitations per event as long as there is sufficient division between the physical locations.

The facility must ensure that common spaces like lobby areas, bathrooms, and hallways are cleaned frequently and persons are not congregating. Businesses must comply with the Secretary's Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings and physical distancing guidelines.

Do the event limits apply to each room within a facility that is hosting an event, or to the space as a whole?
Facilities that host events are required to apply the gathering limits to each discreet event space. According to the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders, each indoor event may only have 10 attendees in each discreet event space.

Do wedding receptions or other private catered events need to follow the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders or should they follow the Dining Guidance?
A gathering as defined above, whether at a business, an event venue or a private home, is considered an event and is therefore limited to the gathering limitations as defined in the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders.

Are private catered events and gatherings allowed to serve food?
All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry including private catered events are suspended for the duration of the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders.

Outdoor dining may continue to operate and must follow the limitations identified in the Governor's and the Secretary of Health's Orders as well as The Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, dated May 27, 2020, as updated October 9, 2020, along with any future updates.

Are events allowed to serve alcohol even though indoor dining is prohibited?
All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food industry, including private catered events, are prohibited for the duration of the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders.

Alcohol may be served at outdoor events so long as a meal is being served.  Outdoor dining may continue to operate and must follow the limitations identified in the Governor's and the Secretary of Health's Orders as well as The Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, dated May 27, 2020, as updated October 9, 2020, along with any future updates.

Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.

Must health care providers, emergency services, and other similar entities follow the gathering limits when participating in trainings, vaccine clinics, testing sites, blood drives, or lifesaving services?
No, these instances would not be considered gatherings. However, organizers should take all public health precautions including physical distancing and following the requirements in the Secretary's Universal Face Covering Order.

Must food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens or other similar entities follow the gathering guidance?
No, these instances would not be considered gatherings. However, organizers should take all public health precautions including physical distancing and following the requirements in the Secretary's Universal Face Covering Order. These entities should also follow all other industry specific guidance.

Schools and Extracurricular Activities

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders and the Mitigation, Enforcement and Immunity Protections Orders apply to schools?
The Orders do not apply to educational instruction but do apply to school activities within and outside of the classroom that are not related to educational instruction, including, but not limited to, assemblies, school board meetings, staff meetings, and extracurricular activities..

Do the event and gathering limitations in the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders include students and staff?
Yes, the Orders include all individuals present at the event or gathering, regardless of whether they are students, staff, or others.

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to school buses?
The Order does not apply to school buses. The Department of Education includes a list of best practices for safely transporting students.

Are school board meetings considered gatherings?
Yes. A school board meeting is a gathering and must follow the indoor gathering limits, and members must practice physical distancing, and comply with the Secretary's Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings. Local education agencies should consider alternative ways to host these meetings including virtual.

Does the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Order apply to school cafeterias and college dining facilities?
No. The Orders do not apply to school cafeteria food services and college dining services, as those services are not considered to be a private catered event or offered by a restaurant.

See the Department of Education's website for additional guidance and resources on schools.

What are considered extracurricular activities?
Extracurricular activities are defined in the Limited-Time Mitigation Orders as voluntary activities sponsored, approved or permitted by a school entity or local education agency or an organization sanctioned by the local education agency other than sports and athletics, and include, but are not limited to, preparation for and involvement in public performances, contests, demonstrations, displays, and club activities.

Adult and Youth Sports

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to school sports for private and public K-12 schools?
Yes, the Orders apply to all K-12 school sports games, contests, competitions, scrimmages, and practices.

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to youth and adult recreational sports?
Yes, the Orders apply to youth interscholastic and intrascholastic athletics and to youth and adult organized athletic contests, competitions, scrimmages, or practices regardless of what they are called and whether the participants are from the same state or other states.

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to collegiate sports?
No, collegiate sports activities may continue in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Department; however, spectators may not attend. Collegiate and professional sports teams must abide by all league and university testing protocols, contact tracing, and other public health practices.

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to professional sports?
No, professional sports activities may continue in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Department; spectators may not attend.

If a sport is exclusively conducted outside is play allowable according to the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Order?
No.  All non-collegiate and non-professional sports activities are suspended, including both indoor and outdoor sports activities.
 
How do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to multi-field/complex sports facilities?
All in-person retail businesses serving the public within a building or indoor defined area in the entertainment industry including multi-field/complex sports facilities are prohibited from operation. Additionally, all organized athletic contests, competitions, scrimmages, and practices regardless of what they are called, with the exception of professional and collegiate sports activities, are prohibited.  

How do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to dance studios, gymnastic facilities, cheerleading gyms?
Dance, cheerleading, and gymnastics competitions, practices or training activities are all considered athletics and are suspended.

How do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders apply to dance, gymnastic or cheerleading competitions?
Dance, cheerleading, and gymnastics are all considered athletics and are suspended.

Can fitness classes continue outdoors?
Yes, however, all individuals present at an outdoor fitness facility must comply with the Face Covering Order and practice physical distancing.


 Is tailgating allowed under the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders?
Gatherings of up to 50 people, including tailgating, are allowed outdoors.

Owners of space where tailgating occurs are responsible for monitoring and enforcing large gathering size restrictions, as well as ensuring that attendees wear face coverings and stay 6 feet apart.

How should skating rinks or hockey facilities operate?
All in-person retail businesses serving the public within a building or defined area in the entertainment industry including skating rinks and hockey facilities are prohibited from operation. Additionally, all organized athletic contests, competitions, scrimmages, and practices regardless of what they are called, with the exception of professional and collegiate sports activities, are prohibited.

Exemptions

Do the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders restrict religious gatherings?
Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the gathering limitations during religious services. These institutions are strongly encouraged to enforce physical distancing and other mitigation measures at their gatherings. Conventions, retreats, and other gatherings that may be sponsored or held by these religious entities that are not the actual worship service are required to comply to comply with the Limited-Time Targeted Mitigation Orders. Attendees at churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other places of congregate worship are required to wear face coverings in compliance with Face Covering Order and practice physical distancing.

Enforcement

How are the Governor's and the Secretary's Limited Time Targeted Mitigation Orders and Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Protections Orders being enforced?
These Orders are enforceable through actions brought under the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 and the Administrative Code of 1929.

Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of State and local law enforcement are all enforcing violations of all orders.

Sanctions and penalties for violation of the Orders will be progressive discipline that begins with a warning to any suspected violator. Enforcement will focus on businesses where people congregate.

How should municipalities and local governments exercise their enforcement authority?
State and local officials should use best judgment in exercising their authority and issuing implementation directives and guidance. All such decisions should appropriately balance public health and safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical infrastructure services and functions.

What if a county health department or local municipality has issued its own Order?  Do I have to follow that one or this one?
Both, to the extent statewide Orders are not inconsistent; however, persons must comply with the more restrictive of the Orders if there is a conflict. County and municipal health departments and local jurisdictions are permitted to have more restrictive, not less restrictive, public health orders. The more restrictive Order must be followed.  Where one Order has a requirement, and the other does not, the requirements that are in place must be followed.

Is there an enforcement hotline for employees to call?
Complaints will only be taken online. A webform to submit complaints is available on the Department's website.

Face Coverings

Where can I find frequently asked questions about masks?
The Department has FAQs specific to the Secretary's Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings that can be found here.

Travel

Where can I find frequently asked questions about travel?
The Department has FAQs specific to travel that can be found here.