Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced he was signing the “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order, a 10-point policy aimed at ensuring uniform safety for all. It includes a new directive that all non-essential businesses in the state must close staff duties in the office as of 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. The essential services directives under the decree are as follows:

ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR ENTITIES, including those for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to the in-person restriction.

(Essential businesses must continue to comply with guidelines and directives to maintain a clean and safe working environment issued by the Ministry of Health).

These guidelines are published by the New York State Department of Economic Development d/b/a Empire State Development and apply to each commercial site individually and are intended to help businesses determine if they are an essential business and the steps to request such a designation. With respect to businesses or entities that operate or provide essential and non-essential services, supplies or support, only business lines and/or operations that are necessary to support essential services, supplies or support are exempt from the restrictions.

For the purposes of Executive Order 202.6, “Essential Activities” means:

1. Essential healthcare operations, including:

  • research and laboratory services
  • hospitals
  • walk-in health facilities
  • emergency veterinary and livestock services
  • elderly care
  • medical wholesale and distribution
  • home health aides or helpers for the elderly
  • doctor and dental emergency
  • nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • manufacturers and suppliers of medical supplies and equipment

2. Essential infrastructure, including:

  • utilities, including power generation, fuel supply and transmission
  • public water and waste water
  • telecommunications and data centers
  • airports/airlines
  • transport infrastructure such as bus, train or rental vehicles, garages
  • hotels and accommodation

3. Essential manufacturing, including:

  • food processing, manufacturing agents, including all food and beverages
  • chemical products
  • medical equipment/instruments
  • medications
  • sanitary products
  • telecommunications
  • microelectronics/semiconductor
  • agriculture/farms
  • household paper products

4. Essential retail, including:

  • grocery stores, including all food and beverage stores
  • pharmacies
  • convenience stores
  • agricultural markets
  • service stations
  • restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
  • hardware and building materials stores

5. Essential services, including:

  • collection, treatment and disposal of waste and recycling
  • courier and shipping services
  • laundromats
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • babysitting services
  • car repair
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • storage for essential businesses
  • animal shelters

6. News media

7. Financial institutions, including:

  • banks
  • Assurance
  • pay
  • accounting
  • financial market services

8. Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, including:

  • homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
  • food banks
  • personal service providers whose function includes the direct care of patients within the framework of voluntary programs approved or financed by the State; the care, protection, custody and supervision of individuals both in the community and in state-approved residential facilities; those who run community shelters and other essential social service organizations that provide direct care or support

9. Construction, including:

  • skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
  • other construction companies and professionals related to critical infrastructure or for emergency repair and security purposes

10. Defense

  • defense and national security operations supporting the U.S. government or a U.S. government contractor

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

  • law enforcement
  • fire prevention and intervention
  • building code enforcement
  • Security
  • emergency management and response
  • building cleaners or superintendents
  • general maintenance, whether employed directly by the entity or by a supplier
  • car repair
  • disinfection

12. Suppliers who provide essential services or products, including logistical and technological support, child care and services:

  • logistics
  • technological support for online services
  • child care programs and services
  • buildings owned or leased by the government
  • essential government services

If your business function is not listed above, but you believe it is essential or an entity providing essential services or functions, you can apply for designation as an essential business.

Places of worship are not closed, but it is strongly recommended not to hold congregational services and to maintain social distancing.

Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.

Business requests to be designated as an essential function as described above should only be made if it is NOT covered by the guidance.

To request designation as an essential business, please Click here.

Restrictions on applying for designation as an essential business:

  • Any business that has only one occupant/employee (i.e. a gas station) has been deemed exempt and does not need to submit an application to be designated as an essential business.
  • Businesses have been ordered to close on Monday, March 15, 2020 due to restrictions on any gathering of 50 or more attendees, including but not limited to bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, casinos, auditoriums , concerts, conferences, worship services, sports events and fitness centers are presumed to comply with restrictions issued by the NYS and must remain closed and cannot be designated as an essential business for the purposes of these guidelines.

For guidance on cleaning and disinfecting facilities, refer to the New York State Department of Health’s Interim Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public and Private Facilities for COVID -19 at address :

For more information: New York State Department of Health COVID-19 webpage

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage:

Contact details for the local health department can be found at:

Michelle J. Kelley