Essential vs. non-essential: Guidelines in NY on business closures

(WHAM) - As more cases of novel Coronavirus are confirmed across the country, more states are putting tighter restrictions in place to limit the spread of the virus.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all non-essential businesses in the state should keep 100 percent of their employees home amid the Coronavirus pandemic. This will take effect Sunday evening.

So what does it mean to be an essential or non-essential business?

Essential Businesses

The New York State Department of Economic Development, known as Empire State Development, outlined the rules for being designated as an essential business. Businesses that are essential include:

  • Research and laboratory services
  • Hospitals
  • Walk-in-care health facilities
  • Veterinary and animal health services
  • Elder care
  • Medical wholesale and distribution
  • Home health care workers or aides
  • Doctor and dentist offices
  • Nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • Medical supplies and equipment providers

Infrastructure facilities such as utilities, public water and wastewater plants, telecommunications and data centers, airports, and transportation will also remain open.

Manufacturing facilities that produce food, chemicals, medical equipment & instruments, pharmaceuticals, safety and sanitary products, telecommunications microelectronics & semi-conductor, agriculture & farms, and paper products will remain open as well.

Businesses that are owned and operated by a single person are exempt for closure.

Essential Stores

A number of retail operations are required to remain open to maintain a functioning society. Those include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Gas stations
  • Food & beverage stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Convenience stores
  • Farmer's markets
  • Hardware & building stores

Essential Industries:

The following list of industries and services will remain working:

  • Trash and recycling collection
  • Mail and shipping services
  • Laundromats/dry cleaning
  • Building cleaning and maintenance
  • Child care services
  • Auto repair
  • Warehouses
  • Funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • Storage for essential businesses
  • Animal shelters or animal care or management

Banks, insurance, payroll, and insurance agencies will remain open. Homeless shelters and congregate care facilities, food banks, and human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients.

Construction companies will also stay in operation, as well as electricians and plumbers.

News organizations are also deemed essential and will remain open.

Essential Safety Agencies

Services and agencies that exist to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses have been deemed essential as well.

Examples of those include:

  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Fire prevention and response
  • Building code enforcement
  • Security
  • Emergency management and response
  • Custodians
  • General maintenance and automotive repair
  • Disinfection organizations
  • Doormen

Essential Support Businesses & Agencies

Some agencies, businesses, and organizations exist to support government agency operations, and thus help to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public.

Businesses that provide logistics, technology support, child care programs and services, and government owned or leased buildings will be deemed essential.

The full list of guidelines can be read on the Empire State Development website.