‘New York State on PAUSE’: What counts as an essential business?

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) – At a press conference on March 20, Governor Cuomo announced he is signing the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone.

It includes a new directive that all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8pm on Sunday, March 22. 

Essential businesses are not subject to the in-person restriction.

Under Executive Order 202.6, the following fall under the definition of essential business:

1. 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

2. Essential Infrastructure, including:

  • 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, 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. News Media

7. Financial Institutions, including:

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

8. 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

9. Construction, including:

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

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, 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

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

Business that do not fall into one of the categories above, but believe they should be considered essential, can make a request to be designated as an essential business.

Any business that only has a single occupant or employee, such as a gas station for example, has been deemed exempt and does not need to submit a request to be designated as an essential business.

Businesses that were ordered to close on Monday, March 15, 2020 under the restrictions on any gathering with 50 or more participants are presumed to be compliant with NYS issued restrictions and must remain closed and are not eligible for designation.

Those business include:

  • bars
  • restaurants
  • gyms
  • movie theaters
  • casinos
  • auditoriums
  • concerts
  • conferences
  • worship services
  • sporting events
  • physical fitness centers,

Houses of worship are not ordered to close, but it is strongly recommended 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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