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Pennsylvania Reopening Checklists

Reopening plan to establish a safe return to business

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Published June 17th, 2020

Reopening Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania amongst the other State was no exempt from the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The government has to take essential measures to save lives and reduce morbidity through contact tracing, quarantine those who came in contact with someone who tested positive of the virus, restrict large gatherings, and temporary shut down of non-life sustaining facilities and other businesses. This move has been proven effective to prevent the risk of spreading the virus to other people.

As the state stabilized the situation and moves to a new phase, businesses are allowed to reopen and operate with the guidance of the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This guide reinforces the existing worker and building safety orders to support public health practices and protect employees and customers.

Phases of Pennsylvania Business Reopening

One of the goals of the Pennsylvania government is to have a safe and iterative reopening process that can be used by businesses, local governments, workers, and customers. The administration utilizes a three-phase matrix with a consultation to PA DOH to determine when regions are ready to begin easing restrictions on work, congregate settings, and social interactions. However, this is not a linear process, if the COVID-19 cases spike up during the phase, the administration will have to revert the to previous restriction orders. The following explains business reopening during the different phases:

Red Phase

The red phase is strictly staying at home order except if Pennsylvanians are fulfilling critical needs. The only allowed businesses to operate are life-sustaining including foodservice industries and restaurants but they are limited to curbside and deliveries only.

Yellow Phase

The yellow phase allows most of the businesses to reopen with compliance to safety worker guidelines except for high-risk activities including indoor recreation, personal care services, and wellness facilities. Teleworking or working from home is still encouraged if the business doesn’t require a face to face contact with their clients. Retailers can operate with protective equipment in place and have a limited capacity to 50% of the maximum. Bar and restaurants can accommodate outdoor dining in addition to take-out and delivery options.

All businesses must comply with DOH and CDC guidance for intensified cleaning and social distancing practices. Wearing a mask is required especially when entering business premises.

Green Phase

The green phase lifts other restrictions but still implement strict compliance with CDC and DOH guidelines. During this phase, all businesses that operate at 50% occupancy in the yellow phase may increase to 75% occupancy. Large gatherings are allowed at a maximum limit of 250 persons. Entertainment, indoor recreations, health and wellness facilities, and personal care services are allowed to operate at 50% occupancy and appointments are strongly encouraged.

The construction activities may return to its full capacity with continued implementation of the set protocols. Monitoring of public health is still in place and an adjustment to orders and restrictions are permitted if necessary.

In preparation for Pennsylvania reopening, a refined plan is needed to ensure public safety. To help business owners get started and coordinate an efficient business reopening process, we compiled Pennsylvania reopening checklist templates that are based on Pennsylvania government guidance that you can download for free and use with iAuditor by SafetyCulture.


Disclaimer: Please note that these checklists, while created with the latest best practices in mind, only provide the basic information and are not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek your own professional advice to determine if the use of such checklists are permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.


Jona Tarlengco

SafetyCulture staff writer

Jona has been part of SafetyCulture for more than 2 years contributing her experience in writing quality and well-researched content. She usually writes a topic about risks, safety, and quality.