Effective Thursday, March 26th at 8:00 am, non-essential businesses located in a must discontinue operations, with the exception of work that can be completed remotely at employees’ residences. The Stay at Home Order will remain in effect for twenty-one days, or until April 16th.
Which businesses are exempt from this order? Which businesses qualify as “Essential”?
There are many businesses and operations essential to maintaining public health and safety. Accordingly, some of the most important exemptions from the order include:
• Healthcare, public health, law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
• Food and beverage manufacturing, production, and cultivation including agriculture
• Grocery and medicine retail
In addition, there are many specific exceptions that might qualify a business as “Essential.” For example, under § 20 of “Essential Businesses and Operations,” a business involved in the manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries qualifies as an essential business.
Specifically, “manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations.”
Please contact us if you need guidance in determining whether or not your business qualifies as an Essential Business under one of the many exceptions.
Even if a business does not qualify as Essential, the Order permits non-essential businesses to continue Minimum Basic Operations. Minimum Basic Operations include the minimum necessary activities to:
· maintain the value of the businesses’ inventory
· preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment
· ensure security
· process payroll and employee benefits
· facilitate employees’ ability to continue to work remotely from their residences
Essential Businesses and businesses continuing Minimum Basic Operations must always comply with Social Distancing Requirements, where possible:
Maintaining 6-foot distances
Providing hand sanitizer and sanitizing products for employees and customers
Arranging separate operating hours for vulnerable populations
Providing online and remote access, including current contact information
In the event that your business qualifies as essential under one of the exceptions, we recommend that your staff be equipped with a letter stating the specific justification for the business qualifying as essential under the Order. BridgehouseLaw can assist in drafting such a Letter.
For Further Reference:
Mecklenburg County ‘Stay at Home’ Order: https://www.mecknc.gov/news/Documents/Mecklenburg%20County%20Stay%20at%20Home%20Orders.pdf
Mecklenburg County’s Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Order:
Madeline Person, Attorney (NC), BridgehouseLaw LLP