Coronavirus

What Businesses Are Considered Essential Under Tri-State Workforce Reductions Order

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New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have effectively shut down to all but essential businesses, and the three states have now published their definitions of what's considered essential.

NEW YORK

Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order, all businesses and nonprofits by 8 p.m. on March 22 were ordered to reduce all in-person work at business locations by 100 percent — effectively telling all businesses to have employees telecommute if possible.

Excluded from that order are what the state has called "essential business or entities," which are not subject to the in-person restriction.

But the question remains — which businesses are essential, and which are considered non-essential?

The New York State Department of Economic Development laid out a list of 12 fields or businesses that are considered to be essential. While some businesses may have both essential and non-essential fields, "only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restrictions," the department said in a release.

On April 1, the Empire State Development agency clarified that real estate agents will also be considered essential workers. Real estate workers who do residential home and commercial office showings; home inspections; and residential appraisals are included.

Back-office real estate work is also deemed essential, but ESD said workers should prioritize telecommuting or work from home procedures as much as possible.

There is also still essential construction going on throughout the city and the tri-state. Construction sites for affordable housing, emergency work, homeless shelters, hospitals and medical/health care centers and utility work have all been ruled essential in NYC, and will continue. Click here see where these types of construction sites are currently active.

Below are the fields considered to be essential and thereby exempt from the mandate limiting the in-person workforce:

1. Essential health care operations:

  • 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, residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • Medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers

2. Essential infrastructure:

  • 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

3. Essential manufacturing:

  • 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

4. Essential retail:

  • 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

5. Essential services:

  • 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
  • Real estate

6. News media

7. Financial Institutions:

  • Banks
  • Insurance
  • Payroll
  • Accounting
  • Services related to financial markets

8. Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations:

  • 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

9. Construction:

  • Essential infrastructure projects like hospitals only

10. Defense:

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

11. Essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses:

  • 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

12. 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 a business believes it is essential, but is not listed above, it may request being added to an exempt list. Any single-employee business, like gas stations, are exempt automatically, and do not need to request an exemption.

Even if a business is deemed essential, it is still requested that all employees engage in social distancing.

While houses of worship were not ordered to be closed, but it was strongly suggested by the state that no congregant services be held and social distancing maintained.

NEW JERSEY

As for the state of New Jersey, all non-essential businesses was ordered to close on March 21. Gov. Phil Murphy said that applies to all businesses EXCEPT:

  • Grocery stores, farmer's markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store
  • Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries
  • Medical supply stores
  • Gas stations
  • Convenience stores
  • Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities
  • Hardware and home improvement stores
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services
  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years
  • Pet stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics
  • Printing and office supply shops
  • Mail and delivery stores
  • Cell phone sale and repair shops
  • Bicycle shops for service and repair
  • Livestock feed stores
  • Nursery and garden centers
  • Farming equipment stores

The state further clarified orders on letting employees work from home.

"Additionally, the order mandates that all businesses or non-profits, wherever practicable, must accommodate their workforce for telework or work-from-home arrangements. To the extent a business or non-profit has employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from-home arrangements, the business or non-profit should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue," the state said in a statement.

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut's essential business order takes effect Monday at 8 p.m. Nonessential businesses are allowed to conduct off-site work by telecommuting or working from home, the government said. The following are considered essential:

1. Essential workers in the 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors, as defined by the federal Department of Homeland Security unless otherwise addressed in a prior or future executive order pertaining to the existing declared public health and civil preparedness emergency.

2. Healthcare and related operations including:
• biotechnology therapies
• consumer health products and services
• doctor and dentist offices
• elder care, including adult day care
• health care plans and health care data
• home health care workers or aides
• hospitals
• manufacturing, distributing, warehousing, and supplying of pharmaceuticals, including research and development
• medical marijuana dispensaries and producers
• medical supplies and equipment providers, including devices, diagnostics, services, and any other healthcare related supplies or services
• medical wholesale and distribution
• nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
• pharmacies
• physical therapy and chiropractic offices
• research and laboratory services, including testing and treatment of COVID-19
• veterinary and animal health services
• walk-in-care health facilities

3. Infrastructure including:
• airports/airlines
• commercial trucking
• dam maintenance and support
• education-related functions at the primary, secondary, or higher education level to provide support for students, including distribution of meals or faculty conducting e-learning
• hotels and other places of accommodation
• water and wastewater operations, systems, and businesses
• telecommunications and data centers
• transportation infrastructure including bus, rail, for-hire vehicles and vehicle rentals, and garages
• utilities including power generation, fuel supply, and transmission

4. All manufacturing and corresponding supply chains, including aerospace, agriculture, and related support businesses

5. Retail including:
• appliances, electronics, computers, and telecom equipment
• big-box stores or wholesale clubs, provided they also sell groceries, consumer health products, or operate a pharmacy
• convenience stores
• gas stations
• grocery stores including all food and beverage retailers
• guns and ammunition
• hardware, paint, and building material stores, including home appliance sales/repair
• liquor/package stores and manufacturer permittees
• pharmacies
• pet and pet supply stores

6. Food and agriculture, including:
• farms and farmer’s markets
• food manufacturing, processing, storage, and distribution facilities 
• nurseries, garden centers, and agriculture supply stores
• restaurants/bars (provided compliance with all applicable executive orders is maintained)

7. Services including:
• accounting and payroll services
• animal shelters or animal care or management, including boarding, grooming, pet walking and pet sitting 
• auto supply, repair, towing, and service, including roadside assistance
• bicycle repair and service
• building cleaning and maintenance
• child care services
• critical operations support for financial institutions
• financial advisors
• financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and check cashing services
• funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries
• insurance companies
• laundromats/dry cleaning
• legal and accounting services
• mail and shipping services
• marinas and marine repair and service
• news and media
• real estate transactions and related services, including residential leasing and renting
• religious services (subject to Executive Order 7D limiting gatherings to 50 people)
• storage for Essential Businesses
• trash and recycling collection, hauling, and processing
• warehouse/distribution, shipping, and fulfillment

8. Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations including:
• food banks
• homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
• 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 social service agencies

9. Construction including:
• all skilled trades such as electricians, HVAC, and plumbers 
• general construction, both commercial and residential
• other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes
• planning, engineering, design, bridge inspection, and other construction support activities

10. Services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of all residences and other buildings (including services necessary to secure and maintain non-essential workplaces):
• building cleaners or janitors
• building code enforcement
• disinfection
• doormen
• emergency management and response
• fire prevention and response
• general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
• home-related services, including real estate transactions, closings, appraisals, and moving services
• landscaping services
• law enforcement
• outdoor maintenance, including pool service
• pest control services
• security and maintenance, including steps reasonably necessary to secure and maintain non-essential businesses
• state marshals

11. Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care, and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public including: 
• billboard leasing and maintenance
• child care services
• essential government services
• government owned or leased buildings
• information technology and information security
• logistics
• technology support

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

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, you may request designation as an Essential Business.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should ONLY be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

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