Process to Reopening Pennsylvania

On April 22, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf announced his detailed plan for reopening Pennsylvania with a targeted May 8th start. The administration will categorize reopening into three phases: red, yellow, green. Phases will be assigned based on conditions in a county, counties or region.

Businesses in the Red Phase

Life-Sustaining Businesses
Governor Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations are now in effect.

Business guidance has been updated after conversations with businesses, stakeholders, and individuals and has been aligned with guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure issued by the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency advisory.

Restaurants and Bars
All restaurants and bars have been ordered to close their dine-in facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so, but eating and drinking inside restaurants and bars is temporarily prohibited.

Guidance and Resources

Businesses in the Yellow Phase

49 counties are now in the yellow phase.

On May 4, 2020, Governor Wolf has issued guidance for procedures that businesses must follow to conduct in-person operations in counties that have moved into the yellow phase. This new guidance is based on the building safety and business safety orders, which nearly all life-sustaining businesses have been operating.

Under the yellow phase of reopening, life-sustaining businesses that could not conduct either all or part of their operations via telework will continue to conduct their operations in-person, and many non-life-sustaining businesses will be permitted to restart their in-person operations through the loosening of some restrictions under the stay-at-home and business closure orders.

Social Restrictions

  • In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities and Personal Care Services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
  • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only

Requirements for Communicating with Employees and On-site Costumers
Businesses conducting in-person operations or serving the public are required to make employees and customers aware of the guidance provided by the commonwealth to keep people at their establishment safe. In addition, businesses are required to publicly acknowledge their responsibility to conduct their operations to ensure the health and safety of employees.

Businesses must print, sign, and post the “COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses” flyer on their premises. Businesses must post the signed flyer in employee common space and, if the business serves the public, the business must also post the flyer near the business’s public entrance(s) in prominent location(s).

Businesses must sign the flyer on the space provided. The signature is an acknowledgement that the owner or management is aware of the COVID-19 safety procedures and understands their responsibilities to carry out the guidance and procedures.

Businesses in the Green Phase

After a county transitions to the yellow phase, the Administration will closely monitor for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for fourteen days, the county will transition to the 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 continue to follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning. Businesses with in-person operations must follow the COVID-19 Business Guidance for building and worker safety measures. When possible, teleworking is strongly encouraged.

Social Restrictions

  • Restaurants and Bars Open at 50% Occupancy
  • Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment Only
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities, and Personal Care Services (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly Encouraged
  • All Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% Occupancy
  • Construction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of Protocol
If employees or customers want to report possible health and safety violations in the workplace related to COVID-19, they can file a complaint with their local law enforcement agency or submit a complaint to the PA Department of Health.

Employers & Unemployment Compensation

If your business has been affected by COVID-19, you can visit the Employer COVID-19 FAQ Page for more information.

Businesses who are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 will be granted Relief From Charges, and your tax rate will not be increased because of COVID-19-related claims.

The PA Department of Labor & Industry has programs to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Shared-Work program can help keep employees attached to your workplace by allowing an employer to temporarily reduce work hours rather than resorting to layoffs. You can reach the Shared-Work team at

However, if you are a business that has had to close either temporarily, consider layoffs, or is financially at-risk for permanent closure the Rapid Response Assistance Program is available to assist you with a variety of services and resources to help you and your employees. You can reach the Rapid Response team via email at

Health and Safety Guidance, Fact Sheets, and COVID-19 Information for Businesses

We have received questions and requests for life-sustaining business guidance amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The below resources are in response to those questions.

Questions? Call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (7.877.724.3258).

Earned Income Tax (EIT) Rate Information

Act 10 of 2020, recently signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf, directs that the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) coordinate the filing extension and payment deadlines of the Local Earned Income Tax so that they coincide with State filing extensions.

Some localities and collection agencies have already announced extensions for local earned income tax returns – the enactment of Act 10 now makes this universal to ALL municipalities in the Commonwealth.

EMPLOYERS: Currently, there are no extensions for Employer 1st quarter 2020 earned income tax returns or payment of the 1st quarter 2020 tax withheld from employees – that deadline remains April 30.

Local Assistance Partners

Businesses have a vast network of services that they can contact to discuss the impact of the Coronavirus on their daily operations and the future of their business. DCED staff and local partner networks are available to help businesses through this challenging time. The following contacts and resources are available to assist affected businesses.

Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop

The Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop is a state government office equipped with knowledge, information, and resources for businesses both large and small. Serving as the first point of contact for Pennsylvania business development concerns, the team helps connect and guide businesses through all stages of development — from planning and startup to operating and expanding.


Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP)

The Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance network of trained and experienced business experts offer one-on-one counseling, specialized workshops, online training, and financial incentives to support the growth and resiliency of Pennsylvania businesses.

Find your local PREP contact

PA Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

The PA Small Business Development Centers are the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses. he SBDC program is a public/private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and 18 universities and colleges across the Commonwealth. Offices are conveniently hosted at 18 universities and their 90 outreach centers across Pennsylvania.

Tel: 1.877.472.7232 (Lead Office) | Find your local SBDC

Industrial Resource Centers (IRC)

The Industrial Resource Centers are a network of seven private, nonprofit IRCs located strategically throughout Pennsylvania. The IRCs were established to help manufacturers respond to changing markets, new technology and the competitive pressures of today’s global economy. Working collaboratively, company by company, their mission is to help manufacturers envision where they want to be and assist them to achieve it, in addition to giving a voice to an increasingly vital part of Pennsylvania’s economy.

Tel: 570.329.3200 ext. 8083 (Lead Office) | Find your local IRC

PA Chamber of Business and Industry

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is dedicated to helping business across the Pennsylvania. Now that the coronavirus has made its way to the United States, businesses are seeking information to help their company, their employees and their families. The PA Chamber has compiled many resources and guidance to help businesses prepare.

Tel: 1.800.225.7224 | Email:

Strategic Early Warning Network (SEWN)

The Strategic Early Warning Network provides specialized turnaround consulting services to support manufacturing companies. These services can help restructure, stabilize, and rekindle business growth for small-to-medium sized manufacturers in Pennsylvania that are experiencing economic hardship.

Tel: 1.866.782.8832

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