What Is Essential Business, Nonessential

This article originally appeared on the Baltimore Patch

MARYLAND — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ordered all nonessential businesses to close at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23. But what exactly is an essential business?

“In a continuing effort to protect the health and safety of all Marylanders, this morning I have enacted an executive order which closes all nonessential businesses, organizations, establishments and facilities in Maryland,” Hogan said Monday. “Unless you have an essential reason to leave your house, stay in your home.”

Liquor stores, cannabis distilleries, bail bondsmen, physical therapists, veterinary clinics, package delivery companies and grocery stores are among those deemed essential. A more detailed list is below.

These businesses are closed:

  • Enclosed malls, gyms, dine-in restaurants and theaters remain closed. Restaurants and liquor stores may continue with curbside, carryout and delivery service.

  • Recreational establishments like bowling alleys, golf courses, driving ranges, health spas, aquatics centers, self defense schools and social/fraternal clubs like the American Legion must close.

  • Tattoo parlors, tanning salons, barber shops and beauty salons that provide aesthetic services like hair and nail treatments must close.

State parks remain open, according to the governor’s office.

Also remaining open will be banks, convenience stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, farmers markets, farms, links in the food supply chain, health care, plumbers, electricians, laundromats, dry cleaners, auto repair shops, warehousing and distribution companies, communication providers (cable, phone and internet companies), veterinarians, pet supply stores, insurance companies, transportation, emergency services as well as those in IT, energy and critical manufacturing.

Related: MD Governor Orders Nonessential Businesses To Close

The essential category includes these too, the governor’s office said in an update Monday night: Auto and truck dealerships; bicycle shops; day cares; engineering, surveying, architectural and interior design firms; companies and organizations that support those with intellectual or developmental disabilities; printers and sign shops; private security firms; companies performing medical research and development, manufacturing, warehousing and diagnostics; title companies; companies that provide portable tents, flooring, lighting, toilets, handwashing stations, HVAC and other portable equipment; and companies that rent tools and/or equipment.

For updates on the coronavirus in Maryland, get Patch news alerts.

The list below is not exhaustive but is meant to give an idea of what is essential, according to the governor’s office, which used the federal government’s guidelines in deeming these sectors and their workers as critical: chemical, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, energy, financial services, food and agriculture, government services, health care/public health, information technology, public works, transportation systems and water/waste water. See the guidance from Maryland’s legal counsel regarding businesses.

Essential Defined

Chemical sector

Commercial facilities sector

  • Lodging

  • Building and property maintenance companies, including without limitation plumbers, electricians, HVAC service companies, roofers, environmental services companies, exterminators, arborists, and landscapers

  • Janitorial firms

  • Companies selling supplies and materials for maintenance of commercial and residential buildings, including “big box” home improvement supply stores, plumbing distributors, electrical distributors and HVAC distributors

  • Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry services

  • Commercial and residential construction companies

  • Self-storage facilities

Casinos, racetracks, simulcast betting facilities, enclosed malls as well as certain recreational and retail establishments that were already ordered to close remain closed.

As much as possible, retail businesses are encouraged to limit in-store interactions to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. The governor’s office pointed to restaurants as a model, as they have turned to carryout or delivery methods to promote social distancing.

Communications sector

  • Broadcasting companies and stations

  • Cable TV companies

  • Telephone (cellular and landline) companies

  • Internet service providers

Critical manufacturing sector

  • Steel, iron and aluminum products

  • Engines, motors, turbines, generators and power transmission equipment

  • Earth-moving, mining, agricultural and construction equipment

  • Parts for water, electric, and telecommunications utility infrastructure

  • Land, air, and water vehicles and related parts

  • Medical equipment

  • Personal protective equipment

  • Cleaning and sanitation equipment and supplies

Defense industrial base sector

  • Companies that research, develop, manufacture, or integrate weapons, defense or intelligence systems or assets

  • Private contractors that support defense and intelligence agencies

Emergency services sector

Energy sector

  • Companies engaged in electricity production (except hydroelectric and nuclear)

  • Companies engaged in the production, refining, storage, transportation, distribution, and sale of oil, gas, and propane products, including gas stations and truck stops

  • Companies that provide utility maintenance services

Financial services sector

  • Banks and credit unions

  • Non-bank lenders

  • Payroll processing companies

  • Payment processing companies

  • Armored car companies

  • Insurance companies

  • Securities and investment companies

  • Accounting and bookkeeping firms

Food and agriculture sector

  • Grocery stores

  • Farmer’s markets

  • Convenience stores

  • Alcoholic beverage stores and distributors, distilleries, and wineries.

  • Institutional food service and supply companies.

  • Farms

  • Food manufacturing and processing

  • Pet supply stores

  • Veterinary hospitals, clinics, and kennels

  • Companies that manufacture, maintain, and sell agricultural equipment

  • Companies that manufacture, or support the manufacturing of paper products

Government facilities sector

  • Lawyers and law firms

  • Court reporters

  • Bail bondsmen

Health care and public health sector

  • Hospitals

  • Health care systems and clinics

  • Physicians, dentists, and pharmacists offices

  • Physical, occupation, and speech therapists

  • Behavioral health facilities and professionals, including psychologists, mental health counselors and substance abuse counselors

  • Rehabilitation facilities

  • Diagnostic facilities, including radiology, imaging, and laboratory facilities

  • Health plans, payors, and billing companies

  • Funeral homes and crematoriums

  • Senior living facilities, including independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing

  • Manufacturers and distributors of medical equipment and supplies

  • Medical cannabis growers, processors and dispensaries

  • Home health care companies

  • Pharmacies

Information technology sector

  • Companies that design, develop, distribute, host, sell, and support information technology software and hardware

  • Companies that provide network routing, access and configuration services

Public works sector

  • Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations, including bridges, dams, water and sewer main breaks, fleet maintenance personnel, construction of critical or strategic infrastructure, traffic signal maintenance, emergency location services for buried utilities, maintenance of digital systems infrastructure supporting public works operations and other emergent issues

  • Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators and other providers of services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences

  • Support personnel for projects such as road and line clearing to ensure needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications are accessible

  • Support personnel to ensure removal, storage and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste

Transportation systems sector

  • Airlines and operators of commercial aircraft (manned and unmanned)

  • Airports, air strips, heliports, and seaplane bases

  • Railroads

  • Motor carriers

  • Carriers of marine freight, including ocean carriers and inland carriers

  • Marine, rail, truck, and intermodal terminals, and operators thereof

  • Stevedores, longshoremen, baggage handlers, and others who handle cargo at transportation hubs

  • Courier, package delivery, mail service, and mail management companies.

  • Warehousing and distribution companies

  • Pipeline owners, operators and maintenance companies

  • Lessors of transportation assets, including railcars and truck trailers

  • Companies that supply parts, or provide maintenance and repair services for transportation assets and infrastructure, including aircraft, marine vessels, locomotives, rail cars, trucks, buses, cars, heavy equipment, roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, air strips, marine terminals, railroads

  • Automotive supply stores and repair shops

Water and wastewater systems sector

  • Municipal, community, and other drinking water and wastewater systems and facilities

  • Well drillers

  • Companies that provide maintenance and inspection services for water and wastewater assets, including treatment works, residential water treatment systems, piping, pumps, tanks, drains, conveyances, and monitoring systems

  • Water testing companies

Supporting firms

The federal critical infrastructure sectors include firms providing the following to any other business, organization or facility included in the federal critical infrastructure sectors:

  • Staffing and/or payroll services

  • Essential raw materials, products or services

Business Owners: Questions Or Concerns?

Those who would like their business to be considered essential or critical in the event of widespread business closures or a shelter-in-place order can submit their business information to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Business owners with questions or concerns can email [email protected], an account monitored by the Maryland Emergency Management team.

Executive Order Closes Nonessential Businesses

Governor Adds More Guidance On What Is Essential