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Pa. enacts new protections for essential workers conducting business face to face

Customers wearing face coverings to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, shop at a produce stand on South 9th Street in the Italian Market neighborhood of Philadelphia, Thursday, April 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Customers wearing face coverings to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, shop at a produce stand on South 9th Street in the Italian Market neighborhood of Philadelphia, Thursday, April 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine signed an order on Wednesday to protect workers and customers at companies that are still permitted to conduct business in person. 

That includes providing masks to staff, restricting the number of people in common areas, and conducting meetings and trainings virtually. Wolf says the measures are not just to restrict the spread of the coronavirus, but also to prepare for the ultimate re-opening of the economy.

The order goes into effect at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“We need to make sure we give employees the confidence they can come to work,” said Wolf in his daily COVD-19 briefing. “Since most of the jobs are in the private sector, that’s the responsibility of the private sector. We need to make sure customers are comfortable coming in and buying things.”

Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to restart Pennsylvania’s economy, announced Friday, noted that adequate testing and personal protective equipment — which Pennsylvania appears not to have yet — is required to lift the stay-at-home orders. 

State Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Saturday that mass testing sites offer a path forward to increase access to testing.

“We are working on all of those factors in terms of relaxing the social distancing and mitigation factors in certain areas of Pennsylvania as we proceed,” Levine said. “We will need to expand testing especially in those areas, where social distancing particularly associated with businesses would potentially be relaxed.”

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