Stay-at-Home Orders:
What is Considered an “Essential Business”?


States and localities continue to take additional measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, including requiring residents to “shelter in place” and stay home and non-essential businesses to close physical locations and require 100 percent of their workforce to telecommute. What businesses, then, are considered “essential”? This varies by state and locality and is covered below.

This resource is provided by MultiState Associates (www.multistate.us).

CISA Guidance


The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the first version of a
guidance document on March 19 detailing which workers should be considered essential critical infrastructure workers by state and local governments across the following sectors:

  • Healthcare / Public Health
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Law Enforcement, Public Safety, First Responders
  • Communications and Information Technology
  • Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions
  • Energy
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Public Works
  • Financial Services
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Chemical

States and localities may choose to follow this guidance when adopting stay at home or workforce reduction orders, but it is ultimately optional.

How to Navigate this Guide


Click on a state or locality name in the Table of Contents below to jump to that jurisdiction’s guidance. Or, you can scroll through the document to view guidance from all jurisdictions reported here.

Table of Contents


Click on the state name to jump to that state’s guidance, or scroll down to view all states and localities being tracked.

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Kentucky

Kansas

Louisiana

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Montana

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Vermont

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Alameda County, CA

Contra Costa County, CA

Los Angeles City, CA

San Diego County, CA

San Francisco City and County, CA

San Mateo County, CA

Santa Clara County, CA

Ventura County, CA

Broward County, FL

Palm Beach County, FL

Atlanta, GA

Savannah (Chatham County), GA

Indianapolis (Marion County), IL

New Orleans, LA

Jackson County, MO

Kansas City, MO

St. Louis, MO

St. Louis County, MO

Bergen County, NJ

Mecklenburg County, NC

Wake County, NC

Philadelphia County, PA

Austin, TX

Dallas County, TX

Harris County, TX

San Antonio and Bexar County, TX

Travis County, TX

States

The map below summarizes state actions to date. States are detailed below the map. In this section, click the name of the state to access source documents.

California

  • Ordered March 19, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what is considered an essential business.
  • The Governor may add additional sectors to this list.

Colorado

  • Healthcare Operations
  • Critical Infrastructure
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Critical Retail
  • Critical Services
  • News Media
  • Financial and Professional Institutions
  • Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations
  • Construction
  • Defense
  • Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences or Other Critical Businesses
  • Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services
  • Educational Institutions that Provide Critical Services to Students and the General Public

Connecticut 

  • Ordered March 20, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what is considered an essential business.
  • The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) may add additional sectors to the list.

Delaware 

  • Ordered March 22, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance with modifications.
  • Instead of “critical manufacturing,” the order deems manufacturing as critical and adds insurance along with financial services.
  • Construction, Necessary Products Retailers, Necessary Retail and Services Establishments, and Open Air Recreation Facilities are all considered essential. A detailed list by NAIC code can be found here.

Hawaii

  • Ordered March 23, 2020.
  • Defines “essential businesses and operations” as including the CISA Guidance or designated by the Director of HIEMA and the following:
  • Healthcare Services and Facilities
  • Government Functions
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage, cannabis production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Educational institutions
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Critical trades, including building and construction
  • Laundry services
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Transportation
  • Financial institutions
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Child care services for employees exempted by this Order
  • Media
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

Idaho

  • Ordered March 25, 2020.
  • Defines “essential businesses and operations” as including the CISA Guidance and the following:
  • Essential healthcare operations
  • Essential infrastructure
  • Essential services and businesses
  • News media
  • Education services
  • Essential financial services
  • Essential transportation services
  • Essential food services
  • Other essential services

Illinois 

  • Ordered March 21, 2020.
  • Defines “essential businesses and operations” as:
  • Healthcare and Public Health Operations        
  • Essential Government Functions
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Day care centers for employees exempt under executive order
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Educational institutions
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Essential Infrastructure
  • Critical trades
  • Laundry services
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Transportation
  • Financial institutions
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Media
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

Indiana 

  • Ordered March 23, 2020.
  • Defines “essential businesses and operations” as including the CISA Guidance and the following:
  • Healthcare and Public Health Operations
  • Essential Government Functions
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage, and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Educational institutions
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Religious entities
  • Media
  • Essential Infrastructure
  • Human Service Operations        
  • Critical trades
  • Laundry services
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Transportation
  • Financial and Insurance institutions
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

Kansas

Kentucky 

  • Ordered March 22, 2020.
  • Defines “life-sustaining businesses” as grocery stores; pharmacies; banks, hardware stores; and other businesses that provide staple goods.
  • Retail businesses that are not life-sustaining may provide local delivery and curbside service of online or telephone orders.

Louisiana 

  • Ordered March 22, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what is considered an essential business.

Maryland 

  • Ordered March 23, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what is considered an essential business.
  • Specifies that the CISA list is non-exhaustive and that exclusion from the list does not mean it is excluded.

Massachusetts 

  • Ordered March 23, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what is considered an essential business, with the addition of steam workers in the energy sector.
  • The Governor may add additional sectors to this list.

Michigan 

  • Ordered March 23, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what businesses may continue in-person operations.

Minnesota

  • Ordered March 25, 2020.
  • Defines “Critical Sectors” as including the CISA Guidance and the following:
  • Tribal Governments
  • The Judicial Branch
  • The Executive Branch
  • Executive Constitutional Offices
  • The Legislative Branch
  • Federal Employees
  • National Guard.
  • Faith leaders and workers
  • Education
  • Construction and critical trades
  • Child care providers
  • Hotels, residential facilities and shelters
  • Shelters for displaced individuals.
  • Charitable and social services organizations
  • Legal services
  • Notaries
  • Critical Labor Union Functions
  • Laundry services
  • Animal shelters and veterinarians
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Essential Supply Stores

Montana

  • Ordered March 26, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what is considered an essential business.

New Hampshire

  • Ordered March 26, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what is considered an essential business with some expansions in energy, manufacturing, and human services sectors.
  • The EO allows additional businesses to be added to the list with the approval of the Commissioner of Business and Economic Affairs and the Governor.

New Jersey 

  • Ordered March 21, 2020.
  • Essential businesses are defined as:
  • Grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store
  • Car dealerships, but only to provide auto maintenance and repair services, and auto mechanics
  • Pharmacies and alternative treatment centers that dispense medicinal marijuana
  • Retail functions of laundromats and dry-cleaning services
  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years old
  • Retail functions of banks and other financial institutions
  • Hardware and home improvement stores
  • Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities
  • Retail functions of printing and office supply shops
  • Retail functions of mail and delivery stores
  • Retail functions of gas stations
  • Medical supply stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Pet stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Mobile phone retail and repair shops (added 3/24)
  • Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair (added 3/24)
  • Livestock feed stores (added 3/24)
  • Nurseries and garden centers (added 3/24)
  • Farming equipment stores (added 3/24)

New Mexico 

  • Ordered March 23, 2020.
  • The full list of essential businesses, with specific lists per industry, can be found here.
  • Essential businesses are defined as:
  • Healthcare / Public Health
  • Emergency Services
  • Childcare
  • Indigent Care
  • Infrastructure Operations
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Manufacture
  • Defense Research
  • Transportation
  • Service Sector
  • Professional Services
  • Financial Services
  • Media
  • Essential Manufacturing
  • Laboratories and defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. government or a contractor to the U.S. government
  • Hardware stores, nurseries and  businesses that generate most of their revenue from the sale of home-improvement goods
  • Laundromats and dry cleaner services
  • Funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • Real estate services including brokers, title companies and related services

New York 

  • Ordered March 20, 2020.
  • Updated Guidance, which provides specific examples, identifies essential businesses as including the below sectors:
  • Essential Health Care Operations
  • Essential Manufacturing
  • Essential Infrastructure
  • Essential Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses
  • Vendors that Provide Essential Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services
  • Essential Services
  • Essential Retail
  • Construction
  • Defense
  • News Media
  • Financial Institutions
  • Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations

North Carolina

  • Ordered March 27, 2020.
  • Defines “essential businesses and operations” as including the CISA Guidance and the following:
  • Businesses that meet social distancing requirements
  • Healthcare and Public Health Operations
  • Human Services Operations
  • Essential Infrastructure Operations        
  • Essential Government Operations
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Home improvement, hardware and supply stores
  • Educational institutions
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Critical trades
  • Laundry services
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for COVID-19 Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Transportation
  • Financial and insurance institutions
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Media
  • Religious entities
  • Defense and military contractors
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services
  • Additional COVID-19 Essential Retail Businesses

Ohio 

  • Ordered March 21, 2020.
  • Defines “essential businesses and operations” as including the CISA Guidance and the following:
  • Healthcare and Public Health Operations
  • Essential Government Functions
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage, and licensed marijuana production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Educational institutions
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Religious entities                                
  • Media
  • Essential Infrastructure
  • Human Service Operations        
  • Critical trades
  • Laundry services
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Transportation
  • Financial and Insurance institutions
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services
  • First Amendment protected speech

Oklahoma

  • Ordered March 24, 2020.
  • Order closes all businesses not identified as being within a critical infrastructure sector, such as gyms, salons, massage parlors and movie theaters, where counties have community spread effective March 25 at 11:59PM through April 15.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what is considered a critical infrastructure sector.
  • Allows the Governor to identify additional critical sectors.

Oregon 

  • Ordered March 23, 2020.
  • Order does not provide a list of businesses that are “essential,” but a list of businesses that may no longer remain open to the public.
  • According to a guidance document, the following businesses are allowed with proper social distancing:
  • Hospitals and Healthcare
  • Grocery Stores
  • Banks
  • Pharmacies
  • Takeout/Delivery from Restaurants and Bars
  • Pet Stores
  • Child care facilities and babysitters (only if abiding by new rules)
  • Certain Retail Stores
  • Outdoor activities like walking your dog, jogging, or biking in your neighborhood
  • Gas Stations

Pennsylvania 

  • Ordered March 19, 2020.
  • The full list of businesses considered “life sustaining” that may continue physical operations may be found here. Businesses may file for a waiver to remain open here.

Vermont

  • Ordered March 24, 2020.
  • Defines services or functions deemed critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security as:
  • Health care operations
  • Law enforcement, public safety and first responders
  • Critical infrastructure including utilities, telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure
  • Construction necessary to support the COVID-19 response and maintain critical infrastructure;
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Retail serving basic human needs such as grocery stores, pharmacies, other retail that sells food, beverage, animal feed and essential supplies
  • Fuel products and supply
  • Hardware stores
  • Transportation sector and agricultural sector equipment parts, repair and maintenance
  • Trash collection and disposal, recycling and operations and maintenance of drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure
  • Agriculture and farms, animal shelters, production and delivery of seed, chemicals and fertilizers, CSAs and veterinarians
  • Lodging
  • Other building and property services for the safety, sanitation and operations of residences or other businesses
  • Mail and shipping services
  • News media
  • Banks and related financial institutions
  • Providers of necessities and services to economically disadvantaged populations
  • Other vendors of technical, security, logistics, custodial and equipment repair and maintenance services necessary to support the COVID-19 response, critical infrastructure and national security

Washington 

  • Ordered March 23, 2020.
  • Follows CISA guidance in determining what is considered an essential business.
  • The full list of essential businesses, with specific examples by sector, may be found here.

West Virginia 

  • Ordered March 23, 2020.
  • Defines “essential businesses and operations” as including the CISA Guidance and the following:
  • Healthcare, Public Health Operations, and Health Insurance Companies
  • Grocery Stores and Pharmacies
  • Essential Government Functions
  • Human Service Organizations and Childcare Facilities and Providers
  • Coal mining and coal-fired electric generation facilities        
  • Food, beverage, and agriculture
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Transportation and travel related businesses and gas stations
  • Educational institutions
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Media and first amendment protected speech
  • Essential Infrastructure
  • Critical trades
  • Laundry services
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Financial and Insurance institutions
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Religious entities

Wisconsin 

  • Ordered March 24, 2020.
  • Defines “essential businesses and operations” as including the CISA Guidance and the following:
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food and beverage production, transport, and agriculture
  • Restaurants for take-out and delivery only
  • Bars for carry-out of alcoholic beverages and food
  • Child care settings
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Weddings, funerals, and religious entities with fewer than 10 people
  • Funeral establishments with fewer than 10 people
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial institutions and services
  • Hardware and supplies stores
  • Critical trades
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Laundry services
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations and Essential Governmental Functions
  • Transportation
  • Home-based care and services
  • Professional services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Higher educational institutions.
  • WEDC designated businesses (Designation inquiry form here)

Localities

Localities are listed by state, then by alphabetical order within that state. Click the name of the locality to access source documents.

Alameda County, CA

  • Ordered: March 16, 2020
  • Effective: March 17, 2020
  • Expires: April 7, 2020, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer

Contra Costa County, CA

  • Ordered: March 16, 2020
  • Effective: March 17, 2020
  • Expires: April 7, 2020, or until is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer

Los Angeles City, CA

  • Ordered: March 19, 2020
  • Effective: March 19, 2020
  • Expires: April 19, 2020, and may be extended prior to that time

San Diego County, CA

  • Ordered: March 17, 2020
  • Effective: March 17, 2020
  • Expires: March 31, 2020

San Francisco City and County, CA

  • Ordered: March 16, 2020
  • Effective: March 17, 2020
  • Expires: April 7, 2020, subject to limited exceptions laid out in the order

San Mateo County, CA

Santa Clara County, CA

  • Ordered: March 16, 2020
  • Effective: March 17, 2020
  • Expires: April 7, 2020, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer

Ventura County, CA

Broward County, FL

  • Ordered: March 20, 2020
  • Effective: March 20, 2020
  • Expires: March 31, 2020, but may be renewed upon the written request of the County Administrator

Palm Beach County, FL

  • Ordered: March 20, 2020
  • Effective: March 20, 2020
  • Expires: March 31, 2020, but may be renewed upon the written request of the County Administrator

Atlanta, GA

  • Ordered: March 23, 2020
  • Effective: March 24, 2020
  • Expires: not stated

Savannah (Chatham County), GA

  • Ordered: March 24, 2020
  • Effective: March 24, 2020
  • Expires: April 8, 2020 unless otherwise amended, extended, or cancelled by the Mayor

Indianapolis (Marion County), IL

  • Ordered: March 16, 2020
  • Effective: March 16, 2020
  • Expires: Seven days unless (1) consent to its extension is given by the City-County Council and (2) it is in fact extended by further executive order or by a resolution of the City-County Council.

New Orleans, LA

  • Ordered: March 16, 2020
  • Effective: March 16, 2020
  • Expires:

Jackson County, MO

  • Ordered: March 16, 2020
  • Effective: March 17, 2020
  • Expires: Various dates for different operations

Kansas City, MO

  • Stay at Home Order FAQ
  • Ordered: March 21, 2020
  • Effective: March 24, 2020
  • Expires: April 24, 2020 unless and until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing

St. Louis, MO

  • Stay at Home Order FAQ
  • Ordered: March 21, 2020
  • Effective: March 23, 2020
  • Expires: April 22, 2020 or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Director of Health & Hospitals/Health Commissioner

St. Louis County, MO

  • Stay at Home FAQs
  • Ordered: March 21, 2020
  • Effective: March 23, 2020
  • Expires: April 22, 2020

Bergen County, NJ

  • Ordered: March 16, 2020
  • Effective: March 17, 2020
  • Expires: remains in effect until modified

Mecklenburg County, NC

  • Ordered: March 24, 2020
  • Effective: March 26, 2020
  • Expires: 21 days, April 16, 2020

Wake County, NC

  • Ordered: March 26, 2020
  • Effective: March 27, 2020
  • Expires: April 16, 2020, but will be regularly reviewed and evaluated and may be terminated, amended, extended or rescinded accordingly

Philadelphia County, PA

  • Ordered: March 22, 2020
  • Effective: March 23, 2020
  • Expires: remains in effect indefinitely, until rescinded, superseded, or amended by further order

Austin, TX

  • Ordered: March 24, 2020
  • Effective: March 24, 2020
  • Expires: April 13, 2020

Dallas County, TX

  • Ordered: March 22, 2020
  • Effective: March 23, 2020
  • Expires: April 3, 2020

Harris County, TX

  • Ordered: March 24, 2020
  • Effective: March 24, 2020
  • Expires: April 3, 2020

San Antonio and Bexar County, TX

  • Ordered: March 23, 2020
  • Effective: March 24, 2020
  • Expires: April 9 202, or until it is either rescinded, superseded or amended

Travis County, TX

  • Ordered: March 24, 2020
  • Effective: March 24, 2020
  • Expires: April 13, 2020