Pennsylvania drops teleworking mandate

Pennsylvania drops teleworking mandate, now only ‘highly encourages’ it
 
Alison Beam, Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of the Department of Health.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

By Paul J. Gough  –  Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times

Pennsylvania on Sunday will lift the mandate for many businesses to telework and now says the practice is only “highly encouraged” as the state continues to make strides against Covid-19.

The teleworking mandate was one of the earliest and longest lasting Covid-19 mitigation measures, requiring since last year under Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders that all companies that are able to do so telework. But with vaccinations on the increase, the administration had been under increasing pressure to change that mandate.

Teleworking will no longer be mandated but highly encouraged, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

It comes at the same time that other Covid-19 restrictions are being eased, including Sunday’s increases in occupancy at restaurants and indoor and outdoor gathering limits. Pennsylvania has also increased the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations and is set to open eligibility to all over 16 in mid-April, a move just announced Wednesday.

“As we move forward, we are reminding Pennsylvanians that it is still imperative that they follow current personal mitigation efforts such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and following gathering and occupancy guidelines so we can protect public health while we jump-start our economy,” said Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam.

The governor and health secretary’s orders will be updated April 4 with the changes to guidance. That will also include the teleworking change, but businesses are still required to comply with the masking, physical distancing and other measures as laid out by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’ve made significant progress in our battle against Covid-19, so we must continue abiding by all guidelines and orders, including masking and social distancing when out and about,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin.

Following the business closures of all but essential businesses in spring 2020, Wolf had kept up the requirement that all businesses that could had to remain teleworking.

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