‘Non-Essential' Businesses Are Closed: Which CT Businesses Are Essential Under Governor's Executive Order

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Connecticut businesses that have been deemed "non-essential" are closed and the Lamont administration has issued guidance on what businesses in Connecticut are considered "essential" and can remain open under the governor's coronavirus executive order.

On March 20, Governor Ned Lamont issued executive order 7H, which requires the closing of all non-essential businesses by 8 p.m. on March 23.

The executive order is part of what the governor is calling the "Stay Safe, Stay at Home" campaign to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday ordered all non-essential businesses to close for the foreseeable future as the latest step to try and slow the spread of coronavirus in Connecticut.

Lamont said the closures could last for weeks, though residents will be able to leave their home for critical services and functions.

"This is tough medicine," the governor said. "I think its right the medicine."

The guidance on essential businesses or nonprofits was issued by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

“We are working around the clock to support our Connecticut businesses during these extremely difficult times,” DECD Commissioner David Lehman said. “Our primary goal was to support our public health objective while balancing the important needs of our citizens and the Connecticut economy. I encourage residents and business to review the guidance carefully and apply for a waiver only if they deem necessary. DECD will also be launching more assistance for small and medium businesses who are impacted by COVID19 in the coming days.”

DECD set up a COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit which can be reached at 860-500-2333 for businesses with questions.

The below text was issued by DECD on March 22.


DECD's guidance on essential businesses is:

With respect to non-essential businesses and nonprofits, this guidance applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business and the steps they may take to request that designation.  

The guidelines set forth here apply to places of business. Non-essential businesses may continue activities that are conducted off-site (e.g. a customer’s home) and/or by telecommuting or working from home. 

Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 7J, issued on March 22, 2020, 1) non-essential retailers may be staffed on-site, provided that they may only offer remote ordering (e.g. phone, internet, mail, dropbox) and curb-side pick-up or delivery and 2) non-essential businesses and nonprofits to allow staff or third parties on site to the minimum extent necessary to provide security, maintenance and receipt of mail and packages. This includes, but is not limited to, auto, boat, bicycle, recreational vehicle, and all other vehicle sales, if conducted remotely. 

To the extent possible, employees of Essential Businesses whose duties are not critical to an Essential Business function described below should telecommute or utilize any work from home procedures available to them.  

1. Critical Infrastructure Sectors

Essential workers in the 16 critical infrastructure sectors defined by the federal Department of Homeland Security. You can read more on the Department of Homeland Security's site here.

  • Healthcare/Public Health
  • Emergency Services - Law Enforcement, Public Safety, First Responders
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials & Waste
  • Energy
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Financial Services
  • Chemical
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Communications
  • Information Technology
  • Dams
  • Commercial Facilities

2. Healthcare and related operations

  • biotechnology therapies
  • consumer health products and services
  • doctor and dentist offices
  • elder care, including adult day care
  • health care plans and health care data
  • home health care workers or aides
  • hospitals
  • manufacturing, distributing, warehousing, and supplying of pharmaceuticals, including research and development
  • medical marijuana dispensaries and producers
  • medical supplies and equipment providers, including devices, diagnostics, services, and any other healthcare related supplies or services
  • medical wholesale and distribution
  • nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • pharmacies
  • physical therapy and chiropractic offices
  • research and laboratory services, including testing and treatment of COVID-19
  • veterinary and animal health services
  • walk-in-care facilities


  • airports/airlines
  • commercial trucking
  • dam maintenance and support
  • education-related functions at the primary, secondary or higher education level to provide support for students, including distribution of meal or faculty conducting e-learning
  • hotels and other places of accommodation
  • water and wastewater operations, systems and businesses
  • telecommunications and data centers
  • transportation infrastructure including bus, rail, for-hire vehicles and vehicle rentals, and garages
  • utilities including power generation, fuel supply, and transmission


All manufacturing and corresponding supply chains, including aerospace, agriculture and related support businesses


  • appliances, electronics, computers and telecom equipment
  • big-box stores or wholesale clubs, provided they also sell groceries, consumer health products, or operate a pharmacy
  • convenience stores
  • gas stations
  • grocery stores including all food and beverage retailers
  • guns and ammunition
  • hardware, paint, and building material stores, including home appliance sales/repair
  • liquor/package stores and manufacturer permittees
  • pharmacies
  • pet and pet supply stores

Food and Agriculture

  • farms and farmer's markets
  • food manufacturing, processing, storage, and distribution facilities
  • nurseries, garden centers and agriculture supply stores
  • restaurants/bars (provided compliance with all applicable executive orders is maintained)


  • accounting and payroll services
  • animal shelters or animal care or management, including boarding, grooming, pet walking and pet sitting 
  • auto supply, repair, towing, and service, including roadside assistance
  • bicycle repair and service
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • critical operations support for financial institutions
  • financial advisors
  • financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and check cashing services
  • funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries
  • insurance companies
  • laundromats/dry cleaning
  • legal and accounting services
  • mail and shipping services
  • marinas and marine repair and service
  • news and media
  • real estate transactions and related services, including residential leasing and renting
  • religious services (subject to Executive Order 7D limiting gatherings to 50 people)
  • storage for Essential Businesses
  • trash and recycling collection, hauling, and processing
  • warehouse/distribution, shipping, and fulfillment

Providers of Basic Necessities to Disadvantaged Populations

  • food banks
  • homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
  • 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 social service agencies


  • all skilled trades such as electricians, HVAC, and plumbers 
  • general construction, both commercial and residential
  • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes
  • planning, engineering, design, bridge inspection, and other construction support activities

Safety and Sanitation Services

  • building cleaners or janitors
  • building code enforcement
  • disinfection
  • doormen
  • emergency management and response
  • fire prevention and response
  • general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • home-related services, including real estate transactions, closings, appraisals, and moving services
  • landscaping services
  • law enforcement
  • outdoor maintenance, including pool service
  • pest control services
  • security and maintenance, including steps reasonably necessary to secure and maintain non-essential businesses
  • state marshals

Essential Service Vendors

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:

  • billboard leasing and maintenance
  • child care services
  • essential government services
  • government owned or leased buildings
  • information technology and information security
  • logistics
  • technology support


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

Requesting Designation

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.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should ONLY be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

To request designation as an Essential Business, please click here.

Restrictions on requesting designation as an Essential Business:
• Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (e.g. attendant) is deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an Essential Business.

If you have further questions not answered above, please submit them to DECD at

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