Yesterday, Governor Wolf and Dr. Levine issued amendments to their July 15, 2020 targeted mitigation orders modifying capacity restrictions for indoor and outdoor gatherings.  These modified capacity restrictions replace the blanket 25 person indoor/250 person outdoor that were previously in place.  Copies of both orders are linked below:

Under the amended orders, venues hosting events or gatherings must ascertain their established occupancy limits as those are defined by the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code and apply the following formula to determine the maximum allowable capacity.

For indoor events, the maximum occupancy is:

  • For venues with maximum occupancy between 0 and 2,000 people: 20% of maximum occupancy
  • For venues with maximum occupancy between 2,001 and 10,000 people: 15% of maximum occupancy
  • For venues with maximum occupancy greater than 10,000 people: 10% of maximum occupancy, capped at 3,750 people.

For outdoor events, the maximum occupancy is:

  • For venues with maximum occupancy between 0 and 2,000 people: 25% of maximum occupancy
  • For venues with maximum occupancy between 2,001 and 10,000 people: 20% of maximum occupancy
  • For venues with maximum occupancy greater than 10,000 people: 15% of maximum occupancy, capped at 7,500 people.

In supplemental FAQs issued by the Department of Health, the Department clarified that venues with maximum occupancy limits between 2,001 – 2,664 and 10,001 – 15,000 individuals are permitted to use the percentages applicable to smaller venues so that their allowable gathering limitation is not reduced.

Using the example provided by the Department, “a venue with a capacity of 1,800 occupants will be able to operate with 360 people on-site using the 20% guideline.  A slightly larger venue that has a capacity of 2,100 is permitted 315 occupants at the 15% guideline. Venues that fall into that situation may apply the percentages applicable to the smaller venue, and thereby increase their capacity.”

If maximum capacity figures are not available for outdoor events or gatherings, the maximum occupancy can be established by using a ratio of 67 people per 1,000 square feet and applying the above formula to the figure.

It is important to note that the amended order still mandates that individuals attending events at any venue must comply with social distancing requirements and must also continue to wear masks in compliance with Dr. Levine’s masking order.  Venues must also continue to implement best practices in attempting to mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus, including establishing timed or staggered entries and exits, establishing multiple entrances and exit points, establishing hygiene stations and providing multiple restrooms, where feasible.

Please contact our public sector attorneys with any questions regarding the amended orders.

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