Gov. Ned Lamont Sunday evening released guidance intended to help the state’s business and nonprofit community better understand his recent “Stay Safe, Stay Home” executive order. That order directs all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities in Connecticut to prohibit all in-person functions effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8 p.m. as part of the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance was developed in concert with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The governor is encouraging all businesses to employ, to the maximum extent possible any telecommuting or work-from-home procedures that they can safely implement. The order excludes any business or entity providing essential services or functions, such as healthcare, food, law enforcement, and similar critical services.

“I know this pandemic has brought disruption to all of our lives, but we need to pull together as a community and practice social distancing in order to reduce the spread of this virus and protect the wellbeing of our neighbors and our loved ones,” Governor Lamont said. “We can’t ignore the facts, which prove that efforts like this are the best way to slow down its impact. I cannot say it enough–if you can, the best thing to do is to stay safe and stay home.

“We are working around the clock to support our Connecticut businesses during these extremely difficult times,” DECD Commissioner David Lehman said. “Our primary goal was to support our public health objective while balancing the important needs of our citizens and the Connecticut economy. I encourage residents and business to review the guidance carefully and apply for a waiver only if they deem necessary. DECD will also be launching more assistance for small and medium businesses who are impacted by COVID19 in the coming days.”

To help businesses in Connecticut navigate the COVID-19 crisis, DECD has established the COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit reachable at 860.500.2333. Questions not answered in what has been published can be submitted to DECD via email.

Entities not on the essential list can request designation as an Essential Business online. (Restrictions on requesting designation as an Essential Business:  Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (e.g. attendant) is deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an Essential Business.) The governor’s guidance specified that requests by businesses to be designated an essential function should be made only if they are not covered by the guidance.

The complete list is published below, and can also be found on the state website.

Lamont signs 11th executive order:  Remote Orders for Non-Essential Businesses, Temp Rehires & More

Lamont signed another executive order that offered some relief to businesses declared non-essential, allowing those retailers to take remote orders and sell for curbside pickup and delivery, as well as keep “minimum staff necessary” on site for security and other services.

This most recent executive order enacts the following provisions:

  • Clarification of Executive Order No. 7H regarding non-essential business operations:  Allows non-essential retailers to take orders remotely and sell products for curbside pickup and delivery, and allows other nonessential businesses to allow the minimum staff necessary on site to handle security, maintenance, mail, and other essential services.
  • Extension of time period for fire service personnel examinations: The order extends deadlines for certain fire-service examination components, so career and volunteer fire service personnel in the queue for certification testing can meet the contractual, bylaw, and probationary requirements of their employers and continue to meet critical public safety needs.
  • Delivery of methadone to homebound patients by methadone maintenance clinics: The order allows delivery of at-home doses of methadone to homebound drug-dependent patients who a medical professional determines are unable to travel to the treatment facility because of COVID-19. The order does not allow patients themselves to carry methadone off site.
  • Suspension of rehiring procedures and restrictions on temporary worker retirees (TWRs): To meet critical government staffing needs caused by COVID-19 with skilled and experienced employees who require little to no additional training, the order suspends previously enacted executive orders and public acts, temporarily removing the two-year limitation on TWRs and allowing employees who participated in retirement incentive programs to work during this emergency.
  • Suspension of certain real property and state contracting statutes: To expedite obtaining appropriate locations for emergency operations, the order suspends certain state contracting, leasing and procurement requirements to enter into emergency short-term leases and take other emergency measures.

Business Exemptions for Coronavirus

1. Essential workers in the 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors, as defined by the federal Department of Homeland Security unless otherwise addressed in a prior or future executive order pertaining to the existing declared public health and civil preparedness emergency.

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