1. Is Governor Wolf’s Order closing all non-life sustaining businesses valid?

Yes. The law gives the Governor broad powers during disaster emergencies. Assume the Order is valid and comply with it.

2. I have facilities in other states. Does Governor Wolf’s Order apply to them?

No. Governor Wolf’s Order is limited to Pennsylvania business facilities.

3. Can businesses request a waiver of the Governor’s Order to keep a business location open?

Yes. An online waiver form, available here, is now available.

4. Can our employees continue to work remotely after Governor Wolf’s Order?

Yes. The Order applies only to physical places of business. It “does not apply to virtual or telework operations (e.g., work from home), so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are followed in such operations.”

5. My business can remain open under Governor Wolf’s Order, but an employee refuses to report to work out of fear of being exposed to COVID-19. What do I do?

Merely fearful employees must report to work, and they should be ordered to report. However, if they refuse, termination should be a last resort. Consider accommodating employees with documented and legitimate issues caused by the virus. Also, consider having the employee take paid sick leave/time off.

6. Can I take employees’ temperatures during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, according to the EEOC. Do not discriminate: test all employees, or all employees who show flu-like symptoms. Conduct the tests in private and hygienically, and keep the results confidential.

7. If an employee is exposed to COVID-19 while at work, is that covered by workers’ compensation?

Yes, according to the PA Department of Labor and Industry.

8. Can my employees file for unemployment compensation benefits if they are laid off due to the virus?

Yes, according to the PA Department of Labor and Industry.

9. Can I require employees to provide a fitness-for-duty doctor’s note showing they are virus-free before returning to work?

Yes. But given the strain on doctors’ time during the pandemic, be flexible and do not demand a note from a doctor; forms and stamps from local clinics suffice.

10. What financial relief is available to businesses during this crisis?

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development offers working capital loans here. Low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration are also available here. And Congress is currently considering the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, which, in its current form, includes $300 billion to fund a small business interruption loan program.

Print Friendly
Recommended Posts