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news & events / 03.23.20 /


Empire State Development Corporation Issues Guidance On What Businesses Provide an “Essential Function” Under Executive Order 202.6, as Revised

Executive Order No. 202.6 directed that all businesses and non-profit entities are required to reduce their in-person workforce by 75%, and Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order (the “PAUSE Order” will increase that reduction to 100% for all non-essential businesses, effective Sunday, March 22 at 8PM. The PAUSE Order will also impose restrictions and include guidance on social gatherings, use of public transportation and other social interaction.

Businesses that provide “essential services” are exempt from the workforce reduction. Executive Order 202.6 referred generally to certain business groups and directed the New York State Department of Economic Development a/k/a Empire State Development Corporation) (ESDC) to promulgate guidance on what constitutes an “essential service” exempting that business from the mandated workforce reduction.

The ESDC has now issued those revised guidelines (see attached). Included within the guidelines are industries affecting our clients, as follows:

Essential services to maintain the “safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses” include:

  • 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* [See Note 1 below]

Note 1: “Doormen”, which were deemed essential under the draft guidelines, have been removed. Buildings should decide the extent to which their doormen fulfill essential functions, such as security, janitorial, mail or package distribution.

Essential specific services include:

  • trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • mail and shipping services
  • laundromats
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • auto repair
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • storage for essential businesses
  • animal shelters

Essential construction includes:

  • skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
  • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes

Essential financing institutions include:

  • banks
  • insurance
  • payroll
  • accounting
  • services related to financial markets

Any business not identified in the ESDC’s guidance as being an “essential” business or service may request designation from the ECDC. All businesses, whether essential or otherwise, are urged to maintain social distancing, proper health guidelines and adherence to separate restrictions imposed during this crisis.

We will keep all readers informed as we learn more.