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April 16, 2020

Temperature screenings mandated for some Pennsylvania workers

To prevent new COVID-19 cases, retail employees and customers must soon wear face masks, order says

Prevention Coronavirus
Essential workers masks Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Some workers in Pennsylvania will be subjected to temperature screenings amid the COVID-19 crisis per an order signed by Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

Stronger safeguards are being mandated across Pennsylvania businesses in an effort to better protect essential workers and customers from the coronavirus. 

All essential workers will be required to undergo temperature screenings before entering their workplace if a fellow employee has been exposed to a possible or confirmed COVID-19 case, according to an executive order signed Wednesday by Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. 

Additionally, workers and patrons will be required to wear face masks, with some exceptions. The order takes effect at 8 p.m. Sunday. 

Any employee with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees must be sent home, according to the new policy. Sick or exposed employees must isolate according to the standards issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Businesses are encouraged to offer generous paid time off. 

“This order provides critical protections for the workers needed to run and operate these life-sustaining establishments," Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. "Businesses across the state have already begun to implement many of these protocols on their own and we applaud their efforts to protect employees and customers."

The order subjects customers and employees to wear masks at all businesses – except those that sell food or medications. In those cases, businesses must provide alternative pickup or delivery methods. 

Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition and children under two years old may enter without a mask. Medical documentation will not be required to enter. Otherwise, people not wearing masks will not be allowed to enter the store. 

The order also requires several measures that many major retailers, including Target and Whole Foods, have already implemented. This includes cutting store occupancy in half, altering business hours to allow staffer ample time to disinfect surfaces and designating specific hours for elderly shoppers and others considered at high-risk. Businesses must provide masks to employees. 

Any business or resident that fails to comply to the new order could face a citation, fine or have their license suspended. 

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