Essential vs. Non-Essential Businesses

Why This Matters

“Safer at Home” or similar orders have occurred in California, New York and Illinois. This means all non-essential businesses and workers must stay at home. As Illinois Gov. J.B. Prizker said, “I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving their livelihoods. But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood without a life.”

  • The goal is to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • The goal is to not tax our health system to the point where we don’t have the equipment to provide life-saving care.

Federal guidelines give state and local authorities leeway on how they define essential.

Companies Saying They’re Essential

 To leave no one wondering who they can do business with, we are compiling this list. 

  • Gundersen Health System
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Chart Industries
  • Kwik Trip
  • Office Depot

To Get Added to the Above List

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What We Know

What We’ve Heard

Governor Evers is expected to follow Ohio’s order which follows the Dept. of Homeland Security’s “Essential Infrastructure”.

To give you a *guideline* of what’s expected, here’s how Ohio listed essential vs. non-essential:

  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage, agriculture manufacturing, production, processing, cultivation
  • Charities: business, religious and secular nonprofit organizations
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial and insurance institutions
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades:
    • construction & subcontractors
    • exterminators
    • cleaning & janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties
    • Security
    • HVAC
    • Painting
    • Moving & relocation services
    • Other providers necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities and essential business operations
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
  • Educational Institutions
    • for distance learning purposes, critical research and essential functions (all must socially distance)
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises (using current social distance restrictions)
  • Supplies to work from home
    • sell, manufacture or supply products needed for people to work from home)
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses
    • computers/IT, audio/video, household appliances, medical equipment, food & beverages, soaps & detergent
  • Transportation
    • airlines, taxis/Uber/Lyft, car rentals, marinas, docks, boat storage and other private, public, commercial transportation logistics
  • Home Based Care facilities
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
    • legal, accounting, insurance, real estate (appraisals and title service included)
  • Manufacture, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries
    • pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitations, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other essential businesses and operations
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels & Motels
  • Funeral Services

Non-Essential Travel Restrictions

AGAIN: This is how *Ohio* is operating. We are awaiting official word from Wisconsin.

  • Businesses, including home-based businesses may continue to operate consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities *in their own residences (not several people meeting in one home because you’re not supposed to travel).
  • No public or private gatherings with other households.
  • Travel is restricted to “essential” meaning:
    • Health or safety
    • Necessary supplies and services
    • Outdoor activity. NOTE: playgrounds were to be closed due to holding the virus
    • To get to work
    • To take care of others (family member, friend, pet and transportation).

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U.S. Chamber Advocacy

The U.S. Chamber is encouraging states (who control the definition of “essential services” to follow the Department of Homeland Security’s identification of critical infrastructure during COVID-19. 

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