During the past 48-hours, the State of New York has issued multiple executive orders, initiatives and related guidance with respect to further shut downs and limitations on social and/or public gatherings, educational closures and restrictions on business operations in connection with COVID-19.  For businesses, the impact of these measures will hinge, in many cases, on whether a business is deemed an “essential business” by the State of New York.  In general, an essential business will be permitted to operate in its ordinary course or with less restriction than a non-essential business.

Executive Order Nos. 202.6 and 202.7 and related guidance issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo defines an “Essential Business” as a business and/or agency performing the following essential functions:

  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 elderly
    • doctor and emergency dental
    • nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
    • medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers
  1. 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
  1. Essential manufacturing, including
    • food processing and manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
    • chemicals
    • medical equipment/instruments
    • pharmaceuticals
    • sanitary products
    • telecommunications
    • microelectronics/semi-conductor
    • agriculture/farms
    • household paper products
  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. News media
  2. Financial Institutions, including
    • Banks
    • Insurance
    • Payroll
    • Accounting
    • Services related to financial markets
  1. 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
  1. Construction, including
    • skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
    • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes
  1. Defense: Defense and natural security-related operations supporting the U.S.  Government or a contractor to the US Government
  2. 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
  1. Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services, including
    • Logistics
    • technology support for online services
    • child care programs and services
    • government owned or leased buildings
    • essential government services

In the event that your business does not fit squarely into the aforementioned categories, New York provides an option for business owners to submit a Request for Designation as Essential Business.

Please do not hesitate to contact Cole Schotz P.C. with any questions related to your specific business and/or industry, including as to whether your business qualifies as an Essential Business as currently defined by the State of New York. We will continue to update this Alert as new information becomes available.