March 26, 2020

What is an “Essential Business” ?

Digging deeper into Proclamation 20-25 and what constitutes an “essential business”.

March 26, 2020

On Monday, March 23, 2020 Governor Jay Inslee Issued Proclamation 20-25, also known as “Stay Home – Stay Healthy”. While this proclamation made many changes for State of Washington residents it also put forth one large change for our business community – the prohibition of non-essential business for two weeks minimum (with the exception of those businesses that can continue operations remotely).

You can read all of the details of Proclamation 20-25 here.

Immediately the question was posed, “what is an essential business”? The proclamation attempted to answer this question with the fourteen-page “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” list offered as an appendix inside the proclamation. This list broke down essential businesses into 13 segments with a broad sector profile and workforce description. The industries included in the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers list are:

  1. Healthcare/Public Health
  2. Emergency Services
  3. Food and Agriculture
  4. Energy
  5. Water and Wastewater
  6. Transportation and Logistics
  7. Communications and Information Technology
  8. Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions
  9. Critical Manufacturing
  10. Hazardous Materials
  11. Financial Services
  12. Chemicals
  13. Defense Industrial Base

The takeaway I had from this list, and the reiteration of support for remote working, is that Washington State and Pierce County are still open for business – albeit different than we may be used to.

Washington State is hoping to add clarification to these large categories through their Coronavirus Response page. If you head to the site you will find several tabs aiming to provide residents and businesses more information. On the “what’s open and closed” and “essential business” pages you will find two critical pieces of information: one, businesses that can operate using telework (regardless of being “essential” or not) should continue to do so and two, businesses are able to receive clarification and request an exception.

While there is still a lot more clarification to be done,  it appears that the State of Washington has given a broad brush to this in the hopes of giving businesses space to create a request that demonstrates where they fit in, and how they are will protect their employees.

The EDB will continue to provide updates on business news and resources as it relates to COVID-19. We encourage you to check our COVID-19 page often and to take part in our free Monday, Wednesday, and Friday business webinars/conference calls.

Contact the EDB

If you come across additional information please send it to us and we will share it.

Maddie Merton
Vice President for Business Retention and Expansion
Contact Maddie


Stay Informed

Interested in learning more about building a business in Pierce County? Our team of economic development professionals are here to help. Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay informed.