With the number of coronavirus cases now topping 7,000 in New York state, on Friday, March 20, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo officially declared that all workers in non-essential businesses across New York state are required to remain at home starting Sunday evening, March 22 in order to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that do not comply with the new mandate will be issued civil fines and mandatory closures will be enforced. Governor Cuomo is advising that this order is not a “shelter in place,” which applies to active shooter-type situations, but was clear that the directive is for New Yorkers to remain at home, although they may continue to or begin teleworking from home during this period. In addition, the Governor ordered that all barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail salons, hair removal services, and related personal care services are required to close effective Saturday, March 21 at 8 pm.

A day before, on March 19, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order that all non-essential businesses reduce their in-person workforce by 75% by March 21, at 8 pm. This followed the Governor’s announcement just one day before that, on March 18, mandating an in-person workforce reduction by 50% for all non-essential businesses.

The Executive Order clarifies that essential businesses which are not subject to the order include:

  1. Essential health care operations, including:
  • 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
  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
  1. Essential manufacturing, including:
  • food processing, including all foods and beverages
  • chemicals
  • medical equipment/instruments
  • pharmaceuticals
  • safety and sanitary products
  • telecommunications
  • microelectronics/semi-conductor
  • agriculture/farms
  • 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/dry cleaning
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • auto repair
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • storage for essential businesses
  • animal shelters or animal care or management
  1. News media
  1. Financial Institutions, including:
  • banks
  • insurance
  • payroll
  • accounting
  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 and natural security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government.
  1. 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
  • doormen
  1. 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:
  • logistics
  • technology support
  • child care programs and services
  • government owned or leased buildings
  • essential government services

The directive for New York businesses is rapidly changing and we will continue to report updates as they happen.