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Coronavirus conditions lead to state decisions on essential businesses

With California, New York and Illinois ordering the closure of non-essential businesses and all non-essential workers to stay home – in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus – you might be asking yourself, “What is essential?”

Federal guidelines give state and local authorities leeway in what they consider essential businesses during an emergency. But in general, those industries identified as essential include grocery stores and food production, pharmacies, health care, utilities, shipping, banking, other governmental services, law enforcement and emergency personnel.

“The broad view is health care, obviously that is essential, sanitation (and) food is essential, and military is essential,” said Jerry Hathaway, a New York City attorney with Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath.

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