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  • Jennifer A. Shoemaker

Gov. Cuomo Requires Non-Essential Businesses to Reduce In-Person Workforce by 100%

Updated: Mar 27

In addition to Jennifer Shoemaker, this post was authored with input from Paul Keneally and Alina Nadir.


As we’ve seen over the past week, many local governments are enacting social distancing measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).


Governor Cuomo announced that effective 3/22/20 at 8 PM all non-essential businesses are ordered to exercise, to the maximum extent possible, remote working procedures. Statewide, each employer providing a non-essential service must reduce their in-person workforce by 100% no later than the effective date and time. In addition, as of the same date and time, all barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors and related personal care services will be closed to members of the public. “This shall also include nail technicians, cosmetologists and estheticians, and the provision of electrolysis, laser hair removal services, as these services cannot be provided while maintaining social distancing.”


Also, with respect to Notary Publics, any notarial act that is required under New York State Law is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology. The details can be found here.


Businesses providing essential services are not subjected to a restriction of their in-person workforce. New York State defines essential businesses directly in the order as:


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


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


3. 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


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/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


6. News Media


7. Financial Institutions Including:

  • Banks

  • Insurance

  • Payroll

  • Accounting


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 natural 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

  • Doormen


12. 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


To read the entire order: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2027-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency


If you think your business provides an essential service and is not included in the list above, click here to file a waiver with the Empire State Development Corporation.


If you have any questions, please contact us here or at 585-258-2800.


You can view more COVID-19-related posts in our COVID-19 Resource Area here.

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