coronavirus concerns

What Exactly is an Essential Business or Industry?

NBC Universal, Inc.

Governor Ned Lamont has signed an executive order that directs all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state to stop all in-person functions, if they are able to.

The executive order, which was announced on Friday and is effective starting on Monday, March 23 at 8 p.m., encourages all businesses to have the most amount of people possible telecommute or work-from-home as coronavirus continues to spread.

Gov. Lamont said the order excludes any essential business or entity providing essential services or functions, but what does that mean specifically?

Here’s a breakdown of essential businesses and industries, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Healthcare / Public Health

  • Anyone providing COVID-19 testing including workers that perform research needed for COVID-19 response.
  • Caregivers including physicians, dentists, psychologists, mid-level practitioners, nurses and assistants, infection control and quality assurance personnel, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists/assistants, social workers, pathologists, and diagnostic/therapeutic technicians and technologists.
  • Hospital and laboratory personnel including accounting, administrative, admitting and discharge, engineering, epidemiological, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, information technology and operational technology, nutritionists, sanitarians, respiratory therapists, etc.
  • Workers in other medical facilities including ambulatory health and surgical, blood banks, clinics, community mental health, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation, end stage renal disease, health departments, home health care, hospices, hospitals, long term care, organ pharmacies, procurement organizations, psychiatric residential, rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers.
  • Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, distributors of medical equipment, personal protective equipment, medical gases, pharmaceuticals, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning and sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies and tissue and paper towel products.
  • Public health / community health workers including those who compile, model, analyze and communicate public health information.
  • Blood and plasma donors and the employees of the organizations that operate and manage related activities.
  • Workers that manage health plans, billing and health information, who cannot practically work remotely.
  • Workers who conduct community-based public health functions, conducting epidemiologic surveillance, compiling, analyzing and communicating public health information, who cannot practically work remotely.
  • Workers performing cybersecurity unctions at healthcare and public health facilities, who cannot practically work remotely.
  • Workers conducting research critical to COVID-19 response.
  • Workers performing security, incident management, and emergency operations functions at or on behalf of healthcare entities including healthcare coalitions, who cannot practically work remotely.
  • Workers who support food, shelter and social services and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, such as those residing in shelters.
  • Pharmacy employees necessary for filling prescriptions.
  • Workers performing mortuary services including funeral homes, crematoriums and cemetery workers.
  • Workers who coordinate with other organizations to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification, transportation, tracking, storage and disposal of human remains and personal effects, certify cause of death and facilitate access to mental/behavioral health services to the family members, responders and survivors of the incident.

Law Enforcement, Public Safety and First Responders

  • Personnel in emergency management, law enforcement, emergency management systems, fire, and corrections, including front line and management.
  • Emergency Medical Technicians.
  • 911 call center operators.
  • Fusion Center employees.
  • Hazardous material responders from government and the private sector.
  • Workers, including contracted vendors, who maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting law enforcement and emergency service operations.

Food and Agriculture

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverages.
  • Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations including carry-out and delivery food employees.
  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees including those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities, livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging.
  • Farm workers including those employed in animal food, feed and ingredient production, packaging and distribution, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs, truck delivery and transport, farm and fishery labor needed to produce food supply domestically.
  • Farm workers and support service workers including those who field crops, commodity inspection, fuel ethanol facilities, storage facilities and other agricultural inputs.
  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed and beverage distribution including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers.
  • Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail.
  • Company cafeterias including in-plant cafeterias that are used to feed employees.
  • Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education.
  • Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments.
  • Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments and other agricultural production aids.
  • Animal agriculture workers including those employed in veterinary health, manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed and bedding, etc; raising of animals for food, animal production operations, slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce.
  • Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including but not limited to timber, paper and other wood products.
  • Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution.

So far in Connecticut, more than 190 people have tested positive for coronavirus and four people have died.

Coronavirus Symptoms

The key symptoms of the coronavirus, according to the CDC are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms can appear in infected persons two to 14 days after exposure.

Coronavirus Prevention Steps

Steps for prevention from the CDC include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, such as to the grocery store
    • Coverings should not be placed on children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • The face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected
    • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a health care worker
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Steps to Self-Monitor for Coronavirus

Steps to self-monitor from the CDC include:

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  2. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  3. Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  4. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

If you do get sick with a fever, cough or have trouble breathing, call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and communicate with your doctor about your recent travel.

  • If you develop symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.

The CDC has a special website set up with details about the coronavirus, including how it spreads and treatment.

Anyone with questions relating to coronavirus can call 2-1-1 or text "CTCOVID" to 898211. The 2-1-1 hotline is available 24 hours a day.

You can also visit the state's coronavirus information website here. Residents are encouraged to check the website for answers to questions before calling the hotline.

Learn More About Coronavirus - COVID-19

Learn more here from the state about Coronavirus.

The state has not specifically laid out which businesses are exempt from Lamont's order. More details are expected to be released by 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22.

Exemptions from the order, according to Lamont and the state's chief's operating officer Josh Geballe, will likely include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Take out and delivery food service
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Major construction projects already underway
  • Major defense manufacturing facilities
  • Public transportation
  • Childcare services
  • Auto repair stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Package stores
  • Banks/Financial institutions

Commissioner David Lehman of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development will be the one to lay out which businesses and industries are exempt from the order. The above list is only what is expected.

Contact Us