What is an 'essential business' under a 'Safer at Home' order

Posted at 10:19 AM, Mar 22, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — On Sunday, Metro Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced a "Safer at Home" order which, among other things, asks workers in nonessential businesses to stay home for 14 days beginning on Sunday at midnight.

On Monday, Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt announced a "safer at home" order beginning March 24 for at least seven days. Mayor Holt's order names similar essential businesses that may remain open as Mayor Cooper. To view Mayor Holt's list, click here.

As for what constitutes an "essential business," Mayor Cooper's website provides the following list:

The following essential activities will remain open:

  • Federal and state offices and services, including post offices and airports
  • Essential Nashville government functions including law enforcement, transportation, and businesses that provide government programs and services
  • Food and beverage: grocery and beverage stores, farmers markets, food banks, catering, convenience stores selling food, agriculture, food processing, feed mills, and other businesses that directly support the food supply
  • Health care, mental and behavioral health, and biomedical research and businesses that directly support the healthcare industry including health information technology, staffing and supplies
  • Sanitation and waste removal businesses and services
  • Energy, water, and sewage businesses and services
  • Pharmacies and medical supply businesses, and other businesses that directly support the drug and medical supply pipeline
  • Vehicle fuel, support, service stations and businesses
  • Banks, savings and loans, insurance companies, accounting businesses, and other business that directly support the insurance and financial services sector
  • Legal and judicial services
  • Laundromats/laundry/cleaning services
  • Home and business repair, hardware supply
  • Warehousing and storage
  • Construction and facilities design businesses
  • Product logistics, transport, and distribution businesses
  • Parcel transportation and delivery businesses
  • Veterinary and pet supply business and services including agricultural services and the caring and feeding of all livestock and farm animals
  • Home and business cleaning and maintenance services
  • All businesses which rely upon deliveries may continue, including florists
  • Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services)

Certain other business and services the Office of the Mayor determines are essential for the continued safety and security of Davidson County.

In addition:

  • Daycare and childcare business will remain open, but will prioritize children of parents working in essential services.
  • Hotels and commercial lodges will remain open, but must end entertainment or dining services in restaurants or group settings. Pick-up and room-service food services may continue.
  • Essential services listed above may continue as long as appropriate distancing is physically possible and encouraged. These businesses will adhere to CDC guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene in the workplace, including encouraging work-from-home and allowing employees when possible to work on-site in shifts to optimize social distancing in the workplace.
  • All essential services, especially grocery stores and pharmacies, will make best efforts to establish hours when only available to senior citizens or otherwise vulnerable populations.

This Order does not apply to employees of government agencies working within the course and scope of their public service employment. Finally, some infrastructure and construction projects are also exempt, if workers are working on:

  • Construction of commercial and institutional buildings, and residential buildings and housing
  • Airport operations, food supply, concessions, and construction
  • Water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil extraction and refining.
  • Roads, highways, public transportation and rail.
  • Solid waste collection and removal.
  • Flood control and watershed protection.
  • Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services)
  • And manufacturing and distribution companies deemed essential to the supply chains of the above industries

The Safer at Home order doesn't mean you must stay in your home. Trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, or even going for a walk are allowed under the order. You can find more information here.