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FAQ – New Public Health Order from PA’s Secretary of Health

By the HR Team at East Coast Risk Management 

COVID-19 Travel

In an effort to control the spread of the Coronavirus, Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, recently issued a new Order, which is effective November 20, 2020.  Below are some of the most frequent questions we are getting from our clients about the new Order and our answers thereto.


  1. Is this new Order a recommendation or a requirement?
  • It is a requirement
  1. What are the travel requirements of the new Order?
  • Anyone who visits Pennsylvania from another state, including Pennsylvanians returning to the Commonwealth, must get tested within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth. If an individual is unable to get a test, is waiting for test results, or chooses not to get a test, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in our state.
  1. How does the new Order apply to business-related travel?
  • The Order distinguishes between personal and work-related travel. Work-related travel to and from the Commonwealth is exempt from the quarantine and testing requirements as follows:
    • Individuals traveling to and from the Commonwealth for work.
    • Individuals traveling to and from the Commonwealth for medical reasons (including providing comfort and support to a patient).
    • Military personnel traveling to the Commonwealth by order or directive of a state or Federal military authority.
    • Individuals in transit through the Commonwealth to another destination, provided that the time spent in the Commonwealth is only the amount of time necessary to complete the transit, make use of travel services, such as a highway rest stop, or make necessary travel connections.
  1. Should I communicate something to my staff about the new order?
  • You should publish a written policy or other written directive requiring employees inform you if they plan to travel out of the Commonwealth for personal reasons. Employees who travel outside of the Commonwealth who are not able to work remotely upon their return should be required to quarantine for 14 days or get the negative COVID test within 72 hours prior to return to the state. We recommend taking disciplinary action if employees fail to inform the company of personal travel in violation of the policy or directive.
  1. Do I have to pay my employees sick time under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when they return from out of state travel that was non-work related (i.e. personal travel that was voluntary)?
  • If you are an employer covered by the FFCRA, yes. Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. The new Order is a state quarantine order. Since it is an order, and not a recommendation, employers required to pay FFCRA sick pay must pay employees who travel out of state for personal reasons, such as for a vacation or to visit family for the holidays, for up to two weeks (80 hours) if they are unable to work or telework.


If you are an employer with questions about anything relating to human resources, safety, or workers’ compensation, contact East Coast Risk Management by calling 724-864-8745 or emailing us at

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