Essential Businesses - Executive Order 7H


UPDATE: On June 16, 2020 Governor Lamont signed Executive Order No. 7ZZ, which extends the deadlines for all of these actions for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency, unless earlier modified or terminated.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described below, should ONLY be made if they are NOT covered by the following guidance.

On March 20, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 7H, directing all businesses and nonprofit entities in the State of Connecticut to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely employ.  That order also directed that, no later than March 23, 2020 at 8 p.m., each non-essential business or nonprofit entity (and therefore not including or applicable to any state or local government agencies, quasi-public agencies, political subdivisions or other entities that do not constitute businesses or nonprofits) shall reduce the in-person workforce at each business location by 100% from pre-state of emergency declaration employment levels.  Executive Order 7H authorized the Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (“DECD”) to provide legally binding guidance about which businesses are essential.  Pursuant to that directive, DECD hereby issues the following guidance concerning which businesses and nonprofit entities are “essential” for purposes of Executive Order 7H.  

Nothing in this guidance shall be deemed to modify or supersede any current or future Executive Order that separately and specifically addresses a particular business or activity.  Specific businesses or activities separately addressed by other current or future Executive Orders issued pursuant to the current declared public health and civil preparedness emergency must comply with any such orders unless and until those orders are modified or terminated separately.    

THE ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR NONPROFITS DESIGNATED IN THIS GUIDANCE are not subject to the in-person restriction set forth in Executive Order 7H.  With respect to non-essential businesses and nonprofits, this guidance applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business and the steps they may take to request that designation.  

The guidelines set forth here apply to places of business. Non-essential businesses may continue activities that are conducted off-site (e.g. a customer’s home) and/or by telecommuting or working from home. 

Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 7J, issued on March 22, 2020, 1) non-essential retailers may be staffed on-site, provided that they may only offer remote ordering (e.g. phone, internet, mail, dropbox) and curb-side pick-up or delivery and 2) non-essential businesses and nonprofits to allow staff or third parties on site to the minimum extent necessary to provide security, maintenance and receipt of mail and packages. This includes, but is not limited to, auto, boat, bicycle, recreational vehicle, and all other vehicle sales, if conducted remotely. 

Auto dealers can complete sales transactions in the following settings:

  1. In a service bay cleaned according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Coronavirus Prevention Guidelines;
  2. In a designated room cleaned according to the CDC Guidelines; or
  3. At a consumer’s home or place of business.

To the extent possible, employees of Essential Businesses whose duties are not critical to an Essential Business function described below should telecommute or utilize any work from home procedures available to them.  

For purposes of Executive Order 7H, “essential business,” means:

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
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
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:
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
pet and pet supply stores

6. Food and agriculture, including:
farms and farmer’s markets, including urban farms and community gardens
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
• car washes
• 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
• golf courses and driving ranges
• insurance companies
• laundromats/dry cleaning
• legal and accounting services
• mail and shipping services
• marinas and marine repair and service
• news and media
• outdoor tennis per USTA guidance
• 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
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
technology support

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

If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an Essential Business.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should ONLY be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

To request designation as an Essential Business, please click here.

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.

If you have further questions not answered above, please submit them to DECD at