Sunday, December 3, 2023

Update: In the event of a shelter in place order, what is an ‘essential business’? [Free read]

On Wednesday Governor Cooper was asked directly about issuing a shelter-in-place mandate, and while he did not order one then, he alluded to the idea that more executive orders would be coming.

Essential businesses, like grocery stores, would likely remain open for business in the event of a stay-home mandate. (Port City Daily/File)

Update: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has issued a ‘stay-at-home’ order, which will take effect on Monday at 5 p.m. Find out which businesses will be considered ‘essential’ (i.e. exempt from the shutdown) and allowed to continue operating here: Update: Governor Cooper announces state-wide ‘stay-at-home order’ to combat Covid-19, order to take effect Monday [Free read]

WILMINGTON — The novel coronavirus has caused a major disruption to everyday life across the world, and as such, several states and numerous counties have issued a shelter-in-place order. While Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina has still not issued one, on Wednesday afternoon he hinted at the possibility of more orders coming from him in the future.

While this sounds serious (it is), residents are not strictly confined to their homes, although, you should limit the time spent in public areas. A shelter in place order is not that much different than what the Governor has already required residents to comply with already.

Things like limiting gatherings to less than 10 people, maintain social distancing, restaurants have closed, and businesses like hair salons and health clubs have been ordered to shut down by 5 p.m. yesterday.

Related: Unsung heroes: Restocking shelves, helping customers in essential Covid-19 jobs [Free read]

Government officials have been quick to inform people that regardless of any shutdown, essential businesses will remain operational — but what exactly is an essential business?

It varies on a state-to-state and even city-by-city basis, but for the most part, people can expect to be able to go out and get everyday essentials. In Maryland, for example, the governor ordered the closure of non-essential businesses (although there was no shelter-in-place order), but the list of so-called essential businesses was vast.

Grocery stores, farmers markets, liquor stores, farms, janitorial companies, and pet stores were just a few of the dozens of businesses not under the closure order. And while only Governor Cooper’s office itself can say exactly what a state-wide order could look like, it’s possible to develop a likely scenario from other shelter in place orders already on the books.

In N.C.

The City of Charlotte is under a stay-home order after Mecklenburg County issued it for 21 days to stem the spread of COVID-19. (Port City Daily/File)

In Charlotte, a ‘stay home’ order was issued; the order is exactly what it sounds like.

“The order will require County residents to remain in their homes for the next 21 days in an attempt to reduce the number of new COVID-19 infections within the County. Exceptions will be allowed for those seeking medical treatment, buying food or exercising outdoors,” according to the county’s website.

The order will also allow essential employees the opportunity to go to work.

“Essential workers, including hospital and medical staff, pharmacy employees, law enforcement, firefighters, EMS Agency (MEDIC), some government employees and foodservice and grocery store employees will be allowed to travel to work. There are also many other essential business operations that can continue to operate,” according to Mecklenburg County. “The order will not prohibit restaurants from providing take out or delivery options. It also does not prohibit daycares, homeless shelters and government agencies from operating.”

Locally, states of emergency have been declared and many businesses that would be closed during an official stay-home mandate are already closed, and those that would be open are staying open.

Essentially, a stay-home order would put allow for a little bit more enforcement by police and sheriff’s deputies for those out-and-about not on essential business (although proving you were not on essential business would be difficult if stopped by police).

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