Navigating Through COVID-19: Essential vs. Non-Essential Businesses

Deborah Lanham News

It is up to cities and states to decide, but there are some businesses that all locales have deemed essential. The Department of Homeland Security has also issued a guidance on workers who are essential to infrastructure.

Essential businesses include:

  • Supermarkets and grocery stores
  • Big-box stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Convenience stores and discount stores
  • Garbage collection
  • Healthcare operations
  • Daycare centers
  • Hardware stores
  • Gas stations and auto-repair shops
  • Banks
  • Post offices and shipping businesses
  • Veterinary clinics and pet stores
  • Farmers’ markets and food banks
  • Businesses that provide necessities to shelters and economically disadvantaged people
  • Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning
  • Agriculture and food processing
  • Warehousing, storage, and distribution
  • Transportation, including airlines, taxis, rideshare programs, and vehicle rentals
  • Suppliers to essential businesses

Non-essential businesses are generally recreational in nature. They don’t provide groceries, health or financial support, or utilities. Restaurants fall in this category, but most locations have allowed restaurants to continue to operate as long as they close dining rooms and switch to exclusively take-out and delivery.

Businesses largely agreed to be non-essential:

  • Theaters
  • Gyms and recreation centers
  • Salons and spas
  • Museums
  • Casinos and racetracks
  • Shopping malls
  • Bowling alleys
  • Sporting and concert venues

If yours is considered an essential business, provide each of your employees with a letter stating you are operating an essential business and it should be on official company letterhead. It is also best practice for your employees to keep this letter with them, as well as business cards/pay stubs and an official government-issued ID.

Every Georgia business should implement their plans to protect the health and safety of their employees and customers. If you have been designated essential by your employer, you should continue to go to work and practice social distancing.