COVID-19: “Essential Employers” – Connecticut

This article will outline Connecticut’s directive and definition of “essential business.”

On March 20, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7H, which primarily served to close all non-essential businesses in Connecticut. The Executive Order follows the trend of requiring all non-essential businesses and nonprofit entities to permit remote working to the fullest extent possible. It also states that all non-essential businesses and nonprofit entities must reduce their in-person workforces at any workplace location by 100%.

Executive Order No. 7H also exempts all “essential businesses or entity providing essential goods, services, or functions” from the in-person restrictions. Under the Executive Order and guidance, “essential business” means:

1. Essential workers in the 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors, as defined by the federal Department of Homeland Security.

2. Healthcare and related operations, including:

• 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 health facilities

3. Infrastructure, including:

• 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 meals 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

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

5. Retail, including:

• 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

6. Food and agriculture, including:

• 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)

7. Services, including:

• 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

8. Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, including:

• 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

9. Construction, including:

• 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

10. Services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of all residences and other buildings (including services necessary to secure and maintain non-essential workplaces):

• 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

11. 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

12. Defense, including:

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

Executive Order No. 7H does not include any enforcement provisions or penalties for non-compliance. However, it does provide a process by which Connecticut employers can request a designation as an essential business. If you believe that you provide essential services or functions, you can request designation as an essential business by following this link.

Jules Halpern Associates LLC

Workplace and Education Law Advisors

Jules Halpern Associates LLC
JULES HALPERN ASSOCIATES LLC is a boutique law firm committed to serving our clients in all facets of their workplace issues. We provide personalized, practical advice that resonates with our clients’ business objectives.
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