The State of North Carolina’s new “Stay at Home” Order Business Considerations in the times of CoVID-19

The Order is similar to many of the restrictions that are currently in place in Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte. As per the terms of the new statewide Order, in the event that the provisions of the County Stay at Home order are more restrictive than the statewide order, then those more restrictive orders shall control the activities of individuals within that County.

Individuals in the state are ordered to stay at home or place of residence and may only leave for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Operations or to participate in or access COVID-19 Essential Business and Operations.

This statewide Order considers businesses operated in CISA identified sectors as Essential as well as Infrastructure Operations, Financial and Insurance Institutions, Critical trades, Professional services, and several others. Additionally, companies that manufacture, distribute and are part of the supply chain for critical products and industries are considered Essential.

While the statewide order does allow all business to continue to operate if they follow “Social Distancing Requirements” between and among their employees and customers, this is not the case under the current Mecklenburg County order. Therefore, non-essential businesses located in Mecklenburg County must discontinue operations, with the exception of work that can be completed remotely at employees’ residences.

Any businesses that feels its operations are essential, but are currently excluded from the statewide Essential businesses list may petition the NC Department of Revenue to grant a request that it be designated as Essential.

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

All businesses must always comply with Social Distancing Requirements including maintaining a 6-foot distance from others at all times.

In the event that your business qualifies as Essential under either the Mecklenburg County or statewide order, we recommend that all employees be provided with a letter describing the Company’s qualifications. Employees should keep this letter with them when traveling to and from the workplace.

Please contact BridgehouseLaw if you need assistance with drafting such a letter or otherwise need assistance with petitioning the state for an Essential business classification.

Reinhard von Hennigs, Attorney (NC), Kristin Whalen, Attorney (NC) BridgehouseLaw LLP
Post: March 30,2020