State and Local Jurisdictions Impose Restrictions on Gatherings and Non-Essential Businesses: Defining What is, and is not, an “Essential Business” that Can Remain Open in Non-Remote Mode
Several jurisdictions recently imposed restrictions to limit the size of gatherings and close or reduce in-person operations of various “non-essential businesses,” all in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 through increased social distancing. Below, we summarize the restrictions and the exceptions for “essential businesses” applicable to dozens of jurisdictions. Because these public health recommendations (and in some cases, mandatory orders) are issued from the state and local/county/municipal levels of government, they are not uniform across the U.S., and their definitions of “essential businesses” may differ from state to state and from city to city. Close attention to the specific terms of these local and state department of health issuances is therefore critical. We offer this compendium in order both to give some current information about these local orders, as well as to demonstrate how these orders may differ geographically.