March 22, 2020 UPDATE: Reminder: 8:00 p.m. Mandate for Non-Essential Business Employees


This has been a stressful few days/weeks for everyone. As we approach, 8:00 p.m. tonight, the time Governor Cuomo set for all non-essential business employees to be sent home from the work place, I have been asked by a number of employers, 3 overriding questions:

1. Am I an Essential Business?

Please see my March 20, 2020 update or click here for guidance for determining whether a business enterprise is subject to a workforce reduction under Executive Order 202.6.

If you are not sure if you are an essential business, Empire State Development has set up a web page: “GUIDANCE FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A BUSINESS ENTERPRISE IS SUBJECT TO A WORKFORCE REDUCTION UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 202.6.”

If you are still not sure, or feel your industry is essential and may not be listed, you may apply to Empire State Development to get, or confirm, your company’s Essential status at

Of course, you may call me at 516.248.1700 to discuss it as well.

2. If I am an Essential Business, does that mean I can have all my employees report to work?

Essential businesses may remain open with their essential staff. However, as Governor Cuomo stated, “With respect to business or entities that operate or provide both essential and non-essential services, supplies or support, only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restrictions.”

That said, you may not require anyone protected by the federal or NY State laws discussed in my prior updates to come to work.

3. How would they find out if my business stayed open, but was not Essential?

The NYS Attorney General’s Office has addressed this issue on Twitter:

NY AG James Twitter post


This is one way they could find out.  We can think of multiple other ways.

To be safe, apply to Empire State Development to get, or confirm, your company’s Essential status at

The attorneys in Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP’s Employment & Labor practice group will continue to keep you updated on any changes to your requirements as an employer as updates become available. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at the below contact information. Battling the novel coronavirus is difficult for everyone. We are here if you need us.

With best wishes for your, and your family’s health and safety.

Gregory S. Lisi
Partner-in-Charge, Employment & Labor practice group | 516.248.1700