Essential vs Non-Essential Businesses During Shelter in Place Orders

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There has been a lot of justified discussion (in light of the Coronavirus pandemic) about what constitutes an “essential” or “non-essential” business during a “shelter in place” order.  While we most certainly know that in most cases, the provision of rental housing is an essential function – especially when it comes to the health & safety of residents.  That being said, The National Law Review recently published an article about the issue and while they say the answers are not always clear or consistent, there are steps you can take to be prepared if and/or when your local jurisdiction issues a “shelter in place” order.  In addition, they point out that there will be uncertainty and lack of consistency state by state as to what is an “essential” and “nonessential” business, as well as how authorities will approach these issues.  Indeed…

The list of “nonessential businesses” also varies from state to state, but the following businesses are largely considered nonessential:

Dine-in Restaurants and bars

Casinos and racetracks
Theaters Shopping malls
Gyms and recreation centers Bowling alleys
Salons and spas Skating rinks
Museums Sporting and concert venues

 

“If you determine after consulting legal counsel that your business qualifies under your state’s specific definition of “essential,” start documenting both how you are “essential” and what you are doing to protect your workforce while they are working. This includes identifying your customers and your products’ applications, either directly or by supplying essential businesses with needed parts or services. Again, it is important that your position align with the definition of “essential” under your specific state’s rules. If your business operates in multiple jurisdictions, work with counsel to determine if there is an approach that meets the requirements in each.”

Click here to read the full article at the National Law Review.

 

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Director of Education & Outreach, National Real Estate Investors Association

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