SHUTDOWN: Cuomo Orders All Non-Essential Businesses to Close, Effective Sunday

3rd UPDATE 4:55 p.m. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Friday morning ordered all non-essential businesses to close to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The order takes effect Sunday at 8 p.m.

Businesses that don’t comply could face civil penalties, Cuomo said, noting that not closing was not an option. Numerous businesses, including liquor stores, are exempt; see list below.

“We must take it to the ultimate step. The  rate of increase of cases portends a total overwhelming of the medical system,” he said. “New York State is on pause. We need everyone to be safe, otherwise no one can be safe. One hundred percent of the non-essential workforce must stay home.
“Only essential businesses will be functioning” he said, naming grocery stores, pharmacies, and a handful of other businesses, such as municipal water systems, that could remain open.
“This is most drastic action we can take.”
Cuomo used the word pause, meaning Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone.
He said the actions were needed to protect the most vulnerable in society, particularly seniors, those with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients, and those with underlying medical conditions. He emphasized that younger people could and have already fallen victim to disease, and that everyone plays a role in safeguarding others.  Referring to his mother, Matilda Cuomo, he called the rules Matilda’s Law. He said families should stop gathering with grandparents and other vulnerable relatives, and maintain social distancing for the sake of everyone’s health.
“Prepare for the worst, hope for the best,” he said.
Businesses can submit questions here.
On Monday, theaters, bars and restaurants were ordered to close to in-store business; malls and other facilities with large open spaces were told to close, and then shops such as nail salons and barbershops were ordered shut. Workforce cuts evolved from 50 percent to 74 percent until Friday’s announcement, which made the shutdown of businesses nearly complete.
Cuomo noted a large increase in confirmed cases around the state, though attributed the increase in part to the availability of tests.


ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR ENTITIES, including any 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 the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health).

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

1. Essential health care operations including

  • research and laboratory services
  • hospitals
  • walk-in-care health facilities
  • emergency veterinary and livestock services
  • 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

2. 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
  • 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
  • telecommunications
  • microelectronics/semi-conductor
  • agriculture/farms
  • household paper products

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 and building material stores

5. Essential services including

  • trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • mail and shipping services
  • laundromats
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • auto repair
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • storage for essential businesses
  • animal shelters

6. News media

7. Financial Institutions including

  • banks
  • 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 including

  • skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
  • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes

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 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

12. Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services:

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

If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business.

Houses of worship are not ordered closed however it is strongly recommended no congregate services be held and social distance maintained. 

Every business is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible, even if designated essential.


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