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Home healthcare and home-based support services

The following is intended as a plain-language summary of rules during the COVID-19 emergency and does not replace the need to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Vaccine mandate regulation

The City of Philadelphia has issued an Emergency Regulation Governing the Control and Prevention of COVID-19 Mandating Vaccines for Healthcare Workers and In Higher Education, Healthcare, and Related Settings (“Vaccine Mandate Regulation”), which mandates vaccine for healthcare workers and in higher education, healthcare, and related settings. This mandate requires healthcare workers and certain workers at healthcare institutions (which includes home-based support services workers) to be fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021. Fully vaccinated means it’s been 2 weeks since the final dose of vaccine.

Read the mandate (PDF), including complete information on vaccination deadlines and exemptions to the mandate.


  • Employers must provide appropriate PPE to workers, including respirators if employees are expected to work with individuals with COVID-19.
  • Home health workers and home visitors must be masked with a respirator or surgical mask when inside of clients’ homes.
  • A respirator, like a N95, KN95, or KF94, offers better protection than a surgical mask.
    • If taking breaks/meals inside a client’s home, the worker must stay at least 6 feet from others in the home.
  • Cloth masks are not appropriate for use by healthcare workers. A surgical mask or respirator provides better protection than a cloth mask. Cloth masks may be used to double mask over a surgical mask to add protection and aid with fit. There is no need to double mask over a respirator.
  • Ask all those in the home to mask, with the exception of children under age 2.
  • Home visitors should bring a supply of masks to ensure that those in the home are able to mask.
  • After vaccination you must still follow local mask guidance.


  • Staff should be screened for symptoms before every shift and prevented from remaining on site if they have cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell.
  • Employers may choose to use self-monitoring or in-person screening or both methods. For those who choose self-monitoring: supply employees with a short fact sheet to remind them of the symptoms of concern, or post a sign stating that any employee entering the workplace certifies that they do not have symptoms of COVID-19, reinforcing the obligation to self-screen before entering the workplace.
  • For those who choose to conduct in-person employee screenings: they may utilize temperature checks and asking the employee if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with of COVID-19. Employers should conduct this screening before employees meet others in the workplace, such as co-workers, patients, or visitors.
  • It is not necessary to conduct on-site temperature measurement for staff. If you measure temperatures, use a no-touch thermometer, and do not allow anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher to remain on-site.
  • Have sick leave policies in place so that employees excluded from the workplace do not lose earnings.
  • If an employee develops COVID-19 infection or has a positive test, businesses and other organizations must take additional precautions to stop the virus from spreading further. See What to do if someone tests positive for COVID-19 at work for more information.


  • Employers must provide hand sanitizer to workers for use before and after all patient visits.
  • Home health workers should perform hand hygiene before entering each client’s home, after entering the home before conducting patient care, as needed throughout the visit, and after leaving the home.
  • Note that hand hygiene should be performed before and after touching the mask whether inside or outside of the client’s home


  • Wipe down high-touch surfaces with disinfectant at least every 4 hours. See CDC guidance for details.


  • Educate employees about symptoms and prevention of COVID-19.
  • Remind staff who are sick or have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 within the past 5 days to stay home and follow CDC quarantine guidelines.
  • Any home healthcare worker or home visitor should seek testing immediately if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Remind all employees to:
    • Cover coughs or sneezes.
    • Maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
    • Wear masks (see above).

See also:

  • Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone.
  • If you have questions, call the Department of Public Health at (215) 685-5488.