In a news conference on March 20, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential New York State private businesses and nonprofits to reduce their workforce reporting to work by 100%  The announcement essentially amends Executive Order 202.6 (“Order”), issued by Gov. Cuomo on March 18, 2020, which required a 50% workforce reduction, by no later than March 20th at 8 p.m. (On March 19, 2020 Gov. Cuomo had announced a 75% required reduction, which has now been superseded).

The Order requires businesses and nonprofits to use telecommuting and work-from-home procedures “to the maximum extent possible.”  The Order exempts essential businesses and entities providing essential services or functions from the in-person restrictions.

In accordance with the Order, on March 19, 2020, the Empire State Development Corporation (“ESDC”), issued guidance as to which businesses are determined to be essential. Specifically:

  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
  2. 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
  • defense and national 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

Other businesses may be deemed essential if, after requesting an opinion, the ESDC determines “that it is in the best interests of the state to have the work continue at full capacity in order to properly respond to the disaster.”  Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, may be made by clicking hereSuch requests should only be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.