Pennsylvania Eases Limits on Gatherings
HARRISBURG (OCT 6 2020) – As the colder weather approaches and opportunities for comfortable outdoor gatherings decline, Pennsylvania has increased capacity limits on gatherings in the state, while keeping in place the mitigation tools that include wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
Starting on Friday, Oct. 9 amended orders allow for venue occupancy limits to play a bigger role in determining the number of people permitted both inside and outside of events or gatherings. An event or gathering is defined as a temporary grouping of individuals for defined purposes that takes place over a limited timeframe, such as hours or days, including fairs, festivals, concerts, or shows, and groupings that occur within larger, more permanent businesses, such as shows or performances within amusement parks, individual showings of movies, business meetings or conferences, or each party or reception within a multi-room venue.
Conversely, groups of people who share a space within a building in the ordinary course of operations, such as in an office building, classroom, production floor, or similar regularly occurring operation of a business or organization, are not “events” or “gatherings”.
All businesses are required to conduct their operations remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business unless that is not possible. In those instances, employees may conduct in-person business operations, provided that the businesses fully comply with the business safety order, the worker safety order, and the masking order.
Based on a venue’s established occupancy limit as defined by the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code, venues apply the appropriate percent of occupancy to determine how many attendees are permitted to attend an event or gathering. When no fire code capacity is published or available for outdoor events or gatherings venues, determine the established occupancy limit as 67 people per 1000 square feet of space.
For indoor events, if the established occupancy limit is 2,000 or fewer, maximum occupancy under the new rules would be 20% of that number; 2,001 to 10,000, 15%; over 10,000, 10% up to 3,750 people.
For outdoor events, for established occupancy limits up to 2,000, the maximum occupancy would be 25%; 2,001 - 10,000, 20%; and over 10,000 the limit would be 15%, up to a maximum of 7,500.
Venues must require attendees to comply with 6-foot social distancing requirements, to wear masks or face coverings, and to implement best practices such as timed entry, multiple entry and exit points, multiple restrooms and hygiene stations.