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What's considered an 'essential business' in Cuomo's order in response to coronavirus?

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered non-essential businesses

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered non-essential businesses reduce their workforces by 100 percent. Credit: New York Governor Office

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday ordered employers throughout the state to send their workers home, effectively shutting down all businesses except for essential services in his latest efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

All non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, according too the executive order.

But what businesses are exempt from the shutdown order?

The state is defining "essential businesses" as:

Essential Health Care Operations, including:

  • research and laboratory services
  • hospitals
  • walk-in-care health facilities
  • emergency veterinary and livestock services
  • elder care
  • medical wholesale and distribution
  • home health care workers or aides for the elderly
  • doctor and emergency dental
  • nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers

Essential Infrastructure, including:

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  • utilities including power generation, fuel supply and transmission
  • public water and wastewater
  • telecommunications and data centers
  • airports/airlines
  • transportation infrastructure such as bus, rail, or for-hire vehicles, garages
  • hotels, and places of accommodation

Essential Manufacturing, including:

  • food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
  • chemicals
  • medical equipment/instruments
  • pharmaceuticals
  • sanitary products
  • telecommunications
  • microelectronics/semi-conductor
  • agriculture/farms
  • household paper products

Essential Retail, including:

  • grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
  • pharmacies
  • convenience stores
  • farmer's markets
  • gas stations
  • restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
  • hardware and building material stores

Essential Services, including:

  • trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • mail and shipping services
  • laundromats
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • auto repair
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • storage for essential businesses
  • animal shelters

News Media

Financial Institutions, including:

  • banks
  • insurance
  • payroll
  • accounting
  • services related to financial markets

Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, including:

  • homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
  • food banks
  • human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support

Construction, including:

  • skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
  • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes

Defense

  • defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government

Essential Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses, including:

  • law enforcement
  • fire prevention and response
  • building code enforcement
  • security
  • emergency management and response
  • building cleaners or janitors
  • general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • automotive repair
  • disinfection

Vendors that Provide Essential Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:

  • logistics
  • technology support for online services
  • child care programs and services
  • government owned or leased buildings
  • essential government services

If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, the state says companies may request designation as an essential business. Any business that only has a single occupant/employee, such as a gas station, has been deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an essential business, according to the state.

Businesses ordered to close Monday, March 15, under the restrictions on any gathering with 50 or more participants, including but not limited to, bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, casinos, auditoriums, concerts, conferences, worship services, sporting events, and physical fitness centers, are presumed to be compliant with state-issued restrictions and must remain closed and are not eligible for designation as an essential business for purposes of this guidance.

Houses of worship are not ordered closed, however, the state is strongly recommending no congregate services be held and social distance maintained. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.

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