COVID-19 Update: New York State on Pause

March 20, 2020 | Kenneth A. Novikoff | Brian S. Conneely | John K. Diviney | Tamika Hardy | Keegan B. Sapp | Employment & Labor

Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.8 directing all non-essential businesses statewide to reduce in-office staff by 100% until further notice.  This includes bars and restaurants that have been directed to close its’ doors and operate on a limited take-out only basis.

The closures and 100% reduction of in-office staff is part of Governor Cuomo’s 10-point policy to defeat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) referred to as New York State on PAUSE.  As it relates to New York State businesses the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) has defined an Essential Business is any business providing products or services that are required to maintain the health, welfare, and safety of the citizens of New York State.  ESD has identified the following essential businesses, which have changed since the initial guidance was published on March 20, 2020.

1. Essential health care operations including

  • research and laboratory services
  • hospitals
  • walk-in-care health clinics and facilities
  • emergency veterinary, livestock services
  • senior/elder care
  • medical wholesale and distribution
  • home health care workers or aides for the elderly
  • doctor and emergency dental
  • nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers
  • licensed mental health providers
  • licensed substance abuse treatment providers
  • medical billing support personnel

2. Essential infrastructure including

  • public and private utilities including but not limited to power generation, fuel supply and transmission
  • public water and wastewater
  • telecommunications and data centers
  • airports/airlines
  • commercial shipping vessels/ports and seaports
  • transportation infrastructure such as bus, rail, for-hire vehicles, garages
  • hotels, and places of accommodation

3. Essential manufacturing including

  • food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
  • chemicals
  • medical equipment/instruments
  • pharmaceuticals
  • sanitary products including personal care products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration
  • telecommunications
  • microelectronics/semi-conductor
  • food-producing agriculture/farms
  • household paper products
  • defense industry and the transportation infrastructure

4. 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, appliance and building material stores
  • pet food

5. Essential services including

  • trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • mail and shipping services
  • laundromats and other clothing/fabric cleaning services
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • bicycle repair
  • auto repair
  • automotive sales conducted remotely or electronically, with in-person vehicle return and delivery by appointment only
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • storage for essential businesses
  • maintenance for the infrastructure of the facility or to maintain or safeguard materials or products therein
  • animal shelters/ and animal care

6. News media

7. Financial Institutions including

  • banks or lending institution
  • insurance
  • payroll
  • accounting
  • services related to financial markets

8. 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

9. Construction

  • All non-essential construction must shut down except emergency construction, (e.g. a project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone until it is safe to shut the site).
  • Essential construction may continue and includes roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. At every site, if essential or emergency non-essential construction, this includes maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit. Sites that cannot maintain distance and safety best practices must close and enforcement will be provided by the state in coordination with the city/local governments. This will include fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
  • For purposes of this section construction work does not include a single worker, who is the sole employee/worker on a job site.

10. Defense

  • defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government

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

  • law enforcement, including corrections and community supervision
  • fire prevention and response
  • building code enforcement
  • security
  • emergency management and response, EMS and 911 dispatch
  • building cleaners or janitors
  • general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • automotive repair
  • disinfection
  • residential moving services

12. Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services including but not limited to:

  • logistics
  • technology support for online services
  • child care programs and services
  • government owned or leased buildings
  • essential government services
  • any personnel necessary for on-line or distance learning or classes delivered via remote means

If the function of your business appears on the above list, only those employees that are needed to provide the products and services that are essential are permitted to work at the business location.  In addition, Essential Businesses are still required to utilize telecommuting or work from home procedures to the maximum extent possible.  ESD has advised businesses who appear on the above list to not seek such designation.

If the function of your business does not appear on the above list, a business may request designation as an essential business through ESD’s website.  If you have any questions about New York State on PAUSE, please contact an attorney in the Employment & Labor Practice Group.

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