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Worksite Reopening​

Note: Employees of the LCB, Attorney General, PGCB, Auditor General and all other agencies not under the Governor's jurisdiction should contact their local HR office for assistance. 

Please note the following guidance may differ for 24/7 operations including correctional facilities, state hospitals and centers, veterans’ homes, and youth development centers, as well as those agencies following CISA’s guidance for critical infrastructure workers. Employees within such operations should continue to follow the guidance issued by their agency.  

In cases where a provision of an approved labor agreement or side letter cannot be reconciled with this policy, the labor agreement or side letter will control.

Page last updated May 20 - 3:30 p.m.

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What are the COVID-19 Reopening phases and what do they mean? 

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Red Phase - The red phase, which continues to apply to portions of the state, has the sole purpose of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, closure of non-life sustaining businesses, school closures, and adoption of strict building safety protocols. 

  • Life-sustaining businesses only 

  • Congregate care and prison restrictions in place 

  • Schools (for in-person instruction) and most childcare facilities closed 

  • Stay at home orders in place 

  • Large gatherings prohibited 

  • Restaurants and bars limited to carry-out and delivery only 

  • Only travel for life-sustaining purposes encouraged 

  • Reiterate and reinforce safety guidance for businesses, workers, individuals, facilities, update if necessary 

  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary 

Yellow Phase - As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place.  The purpose of this phase is to begin to power back up the economy while keeping a close eye on the public health data to ensure the spread of disease remains contained to the greatest extent possible. 

  • Telework must continue where feasible 

  • Businesses with in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders 

  • Childcare open with worker and building safety orders 

  • Congregate care and prison restrictions in place 

  • Schools remain closed for in-person instruction 

  • Stay at home restrictions lifted in favor of aggressive mitigation 

  • Large gatherings of more than 25 prohibited 

  • In-person retail allowable, curbside and delivery preferable 

  • Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) remain closed 

  • Restaurants and bars limited to carry-out and delivery only 

  • All businesses must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) guidance for social distancing and cleaning 

Green Phase - The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay at home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health.  While this phase will facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum. 

  • All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidelines 

  • Aggressive mitigation orders lifted 

  • All individuals must follow CDC and DOH guidelines 

  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary 

 For more information, visit Process to Reopen Pennsylvania. 

What happens if my home is in a red county, but my worksite is in a yellow or green county? 

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Employees should continue to report to work or telework as directed by their supervisor and regardless of county status.

Returning to work will be based on the status of the county in which you work and not the county in which you reside.  

Who made the decision to reopen my worksite? 

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Prior to opening any worksite, the Governor’s Office, Department of General Services, Department of Health (DOH) and your agency leadership ensured that your worksite followed the basic tenets: 

Safety First: Follow all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH; use the provided check lists and guidance to ensure compliance with the Secretary of Health’s Worker Safety Order.   

Telework First: All employees that are able to telework should continue to do so, unless told otherwise by their agency.  

Personal Responsibility: We are all in this together, and everyone plays a role by following the CDC and DOH guidelines for handwashing, social distancing, wearing masks, and staying home if you are sick. 

​Am I required to report to work? Can I telework or continue to use leave?

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Essential employees are required to continue to report to work or telework as directed by their supervisor. 
Telework should continue where feasible during the yellow and green phases of the reopening process. All telework arrangements established during the pandemic are temporary and may be reevaluated at any time.  

Your supervisor will provide you with specific instructions about when you should return to your work location and any changes to your work schedule.

​Will there be an option to telework most days and only come in on certain days? 

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This will be an agency decision and your supervisor will discuss these details with you.  

All telework arrangements established during the pandemic are temporary and may be reevaluated at any time. 

​What changes can I expect when I go back to work? 

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​Your worksite will feel different and reflect what you are seeing at other commonwealth worksites, including wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and frequent cleaning and handwashing. Some worksites may also require health screenings. In addition to reviewing the Returning to Work Guide for Employees, you may contact your supervisor with any questions about what to expect when you return to work. 

​Is my supervisor allowed to change my start time, end time, and breaks without my consent?  

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​Yes. For union-represented employees, your collective bargaining agreement may contain provisions for advance notice prior to a work schedule change in nonemergency circumstances.  You will be notified in advance of a change to your work schedule.  

What social distancing rules will be in place for elevators and stairwells? 

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​There should be no more than three persons per elevator, but employees should use their judgment to determine if that will allow for adequate social distancing. Employees are encouraged to use the stairs if they are able to do so.