Pennsylvania and West Virginia Update State Mask Guidelines

December 11, 2020

Updated Pennsylvania Travel Protocol

According to new Pennsylvania guidelines, Pennsylvania residents traveling outside the state for longer than 24 hours and for personal reasons must do one of the following before returning to work:

  • Provide a negative COVID-19 test
  • Quarantine for 10 days upon returning to the state

Please see your supervisor for questions and to discuss your return date.

Employees in all other states who travel outside their state for 48 hours or more  for personal reasons should review the Travel Protocol with  their supervisor prior to traveling and complete the Employee Return from Travel Form on Safe Workplace when returning. Employees do not need to contact the Covid-19 Hotline regarding personal travel.

​Due to increasing cases of COVID-19, Pennsylvania and West Virginia officials have issued updated mask guidelines which require employees to wear masks indoors regardless of social distancing. These orders went into effect in November 2020.

To help employees understand the new mask rules in Pennsylvania and West Virginia as they relate to FirstEnergy facilities, we’re providing the following mask guidelines by work area:

Indoor spaces: (Offices, service centers, garages, control buildings, etc.)

Employees must wear masks unless they are in an exempted area. Exempted areas include:

  • An office with walls and a door.
  • Place where employee is working alone, such as a car, cab of crane or an open field.
  • Areas where it is not safe (more than mere discomfort) to wear a mask. Please discuss these situations with your supervisor.
  • While employees are eating and drinking.
  • When an employee is working in a cubicle with walls or plexiglass, masks may be removed when the employee is alone in the area and the employee’s work activity will not require any visitors. If anyone enters an employee’s workspace, masks must be worm. If there are people walking past the employee’s cubicle, the guidelines vary by state.
    • Pennsylvania – The cubicle must have at least three walls that are high enough to block the breathing zones of those walking by. If your cubicle walls are not high enough to block a person’s breathing zone, please talk to your supervisor to adjust your current workspace.
      • Supervisors can find information on how to request adjustments to a work space in the Workplace Return Guidelines for Individual & Shared Workspaces and Common Areas which can be found on page 19 of the Workplace Return Guide.
    • West Virginia – It is preferable that the employee works in a cubicle that has a panel installed to raise the height of the walls. This state’s guidelines do not require a specific number of panel walls or height of the walls.

Open-seating meeting rooms: Masks are required.

Control rooms:

  • West Virginia – If portable barriers are installed to separate operators, masks may be removed, unless another person enters the space.
  • In Pennsylvania – If portable barriers are installed to separate operators, then, similar to cubicles, the barrier must be high enough to block the breathing zones of anyone passing by. Otherwise, a mask must be worn.
  • If a portable barrier is not practical, operators should wear masks while in the control room.

Break rooms:  Masks are required, except when eating or drinking.

Training rooms:  Masks are required for in-person training unless barriers are created as described above in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, respectively.

Acceptable types of masks:  No specific type of face covering is required, and masks can include face shields, gaiters and surgical masks. Covering must be appropriate to ensure that the work can be safety performed and must cover nose and mouth. Acceptable masks have been provided and continue to be available at FirstEnergy facilities throughout the company.

In all other states served by our company – Ohio, New Jersey and Maryland – employees should thoroughly evaluate all social distancing options with their supervisor to help ensure they do not need to wear a mask at their desk. However, a mask must be worn at all other times when social distancing may not be assured, like entering and exiting the building, walking down hallways, while in break rooms, riding an elevator, etc.