3-19-20 Governor Coumo to Implement an Executive Order - Non-Essential Businesses Must Reduce In-person Workforce by 75%

Posted on March 19, 2020


Non-Essential Businesses Must Reduce In-person Workforce by 75%

On March 18, 2020, as part of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to implement social distancing he issued an Executive Order, effective on March 20 at 8 pm, requiring that all businesses and not-for-profit entities must utilize, to the maximum extent possible, telecommuting or work from home procedures that can be safely utilized. All businesses and entities providing non-essential services or functions are required by the Order to reduce their in-person workforce by 50%. Businesses and entities providing essential services or functions are not subject to the in-person restriction. This morning, in remarks to the press, the Governor announced that the required reduction to in-person workforce for non-essential businesses and entities would be increased to 75%. This announcement has not yet been issued as an Executive Order.

Essential services and functions are listed as follows:

  • essential health care operations including research and laboratory services;
  • essential infrastructure including utilities, telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure;
  • essential manufacturing, including food processing and pharmaceuticals;
  • essential retail including grocery stores and pharmacies;
  • essential services including trash collection, mail, and shipping services;
  • news media;
  • banks and related financial institutions;
  • providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations;
  • construction;
  • vendors of essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses;
  • vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public.

No additional information was provided in the Executive Order regarding the interpretation of “essential services”. Businesses and entities, however, may request to be deemed essential by requesting an opinion from the Empire State Development Corporation. Such a request will be analyzed based upon whether it is the best interest of the State that the business or entity operate at full capacity in order to properly respond to the disaster. The Empire State Development Corporation website provides that requests for an opinion may be sent by email to COVID19BusinessWaiver@ESD.ny.gov. Further details may be obtained on the website of the Empire State Development Corporation - https://esd.ny.gov/. The Empire State Development Corporation is expected to issue further guidance as to the definition of essential as of 5 pm today. We recommend that you review this guidance prior to applying for an opinion.

If you would like our assistance in reviewing an application for an opinion prior to submitting it, we would be pleased to assist you.


Woods Oviatt is continually monitoring this and all other aspects of the Coronavirus pandemic as it affects business.

Please contact your Woods Oviatt attorney or the following attorneys regarding COVID-19 related issues:

COVID-19 Multidiscipline Crisis Resource Group Co-Leaders

Gordon E. Forth, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2801
Cell: 585-330-2862
Email: Gforth@woodsoviatt.com
Chris R. Rodi, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2820
Cell: 585- 472-6474
Email: Crodi@woodsoviatt.com
Government Business Regulations:
John F. Liebschutz, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2869
Cell: 585-943-2181
Email: Jliebschutz@woodsoviatt.com
Employment and Labor:
Gordon S. Dickens, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2851
Cell: 585-766-1642
Email: GDickens@woodsoviatt.com
Lorisa D. LaRocca, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2834
Cell: 585-506-5394
Email: LLarocca@woodsoviatt.com
Donald (Dan) O’Brien, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2810
Cell: 585-734-9647
Email: Dobrien@woodsoviatt.com
Gregory G. Broikos, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2805
Cell: 585-208-7060
Email: Gbroikos@woodsoviatt.com
Commercial Contracts:
Christopher R. Rodi, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2820
Cell: 585- 472-6474
Email: Crodi@woodsoviatt.com
Katarina B. Polozie, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2910
Cell: 202-262-4368
Email: kpolozie@woodsoviatt.com
Liquidity - Capital Calls
Christian J. Henrich, Esq.
Phone: 716-248-3211
Cell: 716-213-7005
Email: chenrich@woodsoviatt.com
Liquidity - Credit Facilities:
W. Stephen Tierney, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2839
Cell: 585-329-1020
Email: stierney@woodsoviatt.com
William F. Savino, Esq.
Phone: 716-248-3210
Cell: 716-982-2557
Email: wsavino@woodsoviatt.com
Litigation and Disputes:
Warren B. Rosenbaum, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2813
Cell: 585-613-6848
Email: wrosenbaum@woodsoviatt.com
Brian D. Gwitt, Esq.
Phone: 716-248-3213
Email: Bgwitt@woodsoviatt.com
Brian J. Capitummino, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2863
Cell: 585-233-1847
Email: bcapitummino@woodsoviatt.com
Real Estate
Kristopher J. Vurraro, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2838
Cell: 585-415-3147
Email: Kvurraro@woodsoviatt.com
Benjamin M. Keller, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2804
Cell: 716-238-4878
Email: Bkeller@woodsoviatt.com
Family Wealth and Estate Planning
Philip L. Burke, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2850
Cell: 585-748-6198
Email: Pburke@woodsoviatt.com
David P. Shaffer, Esq.
Phone: 585-987-2878
Cell: 585-472-6696
Email: dshaffer@woodsoviatt.com