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Prevention strategies for businesses, restaurants, and organizations

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.

In order to keep our families and communities safe from COVID-19, all individuals should use prevention strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  These strategies include:

  • Wearing masks.
  • Physical distancing.
  • Washing your hands.
  • Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

Businesses, institutions, and event organizers can also use the prevention strategies below.

Key prevention strategies for staff, patrons, attendees, and guests:

Guidance for staff and attendees who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19:

    • Tell any unvaccinated staff and attendees or those who are not up to date to quarantine for 5 days after they’ve come into close contact with someone with COVID-19. They may leave quarantine on day 5 as long as they remain asymptomatic.  They must strictly mask when around people for an additional 5 days. See Calculating Isolation and Quarantine. If possible, they should get tested on day 5 after they have been exposed.  See our map of testing sites.
  • Communicate to staff and attendees who are up to date that there is no need to stay home in quarantine but they must wear a mask when around people for 10 days after they’ve come into close contact with someone with COVID-19. They should also avoid:
    • Activities where they can’t wear a mask like eating in public or going to certain gyms.
    • Travel.
    • Visiting those who are at high risk of developing severe COVID, like an elderly relative or friend.

If possible, they should get tested on day 5 after they have been exposed.  See our map of testing sites.

  • Ask all attendees to screen themselves for symptoms before entering the facility.
  • It is not recommended to conduct onsite temperature measurements. If you measure temperatures, use a no-touch thermometer, and do not allow anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher to remain onsite.
  • Conduct contact tracing, in combination with isolation and quarantine for staff or attendees who show symptoms of COVID-19. These steps should be taken in a manner consistent with applicable laws and regulations, including those relating to privacy, and in collaboration with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments.
  • If you have questions, contact the Health Department by calling 215-685-5488 or emailing
  • If staff were in or near a large crowd–even if masked AND vaccinated:
    • To prevent possible spread to co-workers, loved ones, and those in their community who are vulnerable, staff should get tested for COVID-19 after having been in or near a crowd.
      • While waiting for results, they should stay away from those who are at high risk of getting severe disease and the elderly.
      • If they test positive, they must isolate. Read more about testing and isolation.
      • If they cannot stay home, they should be sure to wear a well-fitted mask and keep distanced.
      • They should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms like new-onset fever, cough, or shortness of breath for 10 days.

Key prevention strategies for facilities, including arrangement or construction of event space/establishment, if applicable:

  • Conduct routine cleaning using EPA-approved cleaning products. See CDC guidance for details.
  • Prevent crowding at exhibits, check-out, and/or events.
  • Consider how you will position restaurants, food trucks, or food stands to prevent crowding and/or long lines, if applicable.
  • Use sidewalk decals or signs to help attendees, patrons, guests keep their distance.


If possible, increase ventilation in the building by either:

  • Opening windows and/or doors on opposite sides of the building and using fans to blow outside air through the building, or
  • Optimizing ventilation provided by the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system by:
    • Having the HVAC system checked to assure that it is working properly. If it can be adjusted, the system should be set to provide at least 6 air exchanges per hour.
    • Maximizing the amount of outside air circulated by the system.
    • Installing filters with minimum efficiency reporting values (MERV) of the highest value compatible with filter rack.

Using signage:

Post prominent signs at the premises:

  • Asking people who are sick or who have had contact with someone with COVID-19 within the past 5 days not to enter.
  • Requiring masks. Find Health Department posters on masking and vaccination requirements.
  • Encouraging people to cover coughs or sneezes.

Read more about the CDC’s guidance event planning and COVID-19 safety.

Asking about vaccination status is not a violation of HIPAA, which ensures a patient’s health information is properly protected. HIPAA applies only to covered entities (healthcare providers, healthcare plans) conducting certain electronic transactions. Most establishments would not fall into the category of a covered entity as defined under the statute. Read more guidance from the CDC about HIPAA. If you have questions about privacy laws that could potentially be applicable to vaccination verification activities, consult with legal counsel prior to taking such actions.

  • 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.