COVID-19 Re-opening Occupancy Guidance
The Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses Operating During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency includes guidance on the maximum occupancy for many types of businesses. All businesses are urged to consult this guidance to determine any restrictions on your operations including the occupancy limits for your locations.
Information on determining your location's maximum occupancy is below. Restaurants should also refer to the Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry for additional information about safely seating patrons as well as self-certification. On November 23, 2020 the Governor and Secretary Levine released new mitigation orders to allow for venue occupancy limits to play a bigger role in determining the number of people permitted to attend inside and outside events. In addition, businesses must comply with the temporary mitigation measures effective December 12, 2020 and continuing through January 4, 2021. These measures can be found in FAQs for Businesses Operating During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency.
To calculate your business's occupancy limit:
- Find your business's maximum occupancy percent according to the Commonwealth's phased approach to reopening.
- Contact your local building code official regarding your business's occupant load/capacity. Ninety-five percent of PA municipalities enforce building codes though local building code officials or a certified third party; if your business is within a municipality that has relinquished its building enforcement authority to the Department of Labor & Industry, please contact the Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety at 717-787-3806.
- Provide a copy of your certificate of occupancy to the building code official. As a reference to determine the occupant load/capacity of a building, you may look to Table 1004.1.2, Maximum Floor Area Allowances per occupant of the International Building Code for reference. Mercantile/retail example: The table allows for 60 square feet gross per person in the show room floor/sales area of the building and 300 square feet gross per person in the stock room/warehouse area of the building to calculate your maximum occupant load/capacity.
- The building code official will determine your business's occupant load/capacity using the International Building Code.
- Reduce your business's occupant load/capacity to the occupancy percent allowed for your business according to the Commonwealth's phased reopening.
Each business should use their own discretion to determine if social distancing can be adequately maintained at the maximum occupancy percent defined in the Commonwealth's phased reopening, or if a lower capacity is needed to ensure that social distancing be maintained.