Is my business 'essential' under Gov. DeWine's stay at home order?

Posted at 12:48 PM, Mar 23, 2020

CLEVELAND — On Sunday afternoon, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Amy Acton issued a Stay at Home order for the state of Ohio amid the coronavirus pandemic. Under the order, businesses deemed essential are permitted to operate and employees of those businesses are allowed to continue working.

But how do you know if you’ve been deemed an “essential employee?”

The stay at home order outlines business deemed essential in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security’s designation of essential businesses. Here is a break down:

Businesses and operations deemed essential

  • Stores that sell groceries, prescription medicine, over the counter medicine, sanitary and safety products
  • Food and beverage manufacturers, producers, processors and cultivators
  • Agriculture businesses
  • Animal shelters, rescues, kennels and adoption facilities
  • Food banks
  • Non-profit organizations, social services and shelters
  • Religious organizations, facilities, groups and gatherings
  • Media
  • Gas stations
  • Auto supply and repair
  • Transportation repair
  • Banks
  • Financial entities and institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades -- plumbing, HVAC, extermination, electricians, etc. providing services for residences and other essential business
  • Post offices
  • Shipping and delivery companies
  • Educational institutions-- provided social distancing is being practiced
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants implementing carry-out or delivery services
  • Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home
  • Businesses that supply equipment or materials needed by other essential business
  • Transportation -- airlines, taxis, marinas, vehicle rental services, Uber and Lyft
  • Home-based care and services-- nannies, meal delivery, care for adults, children, seniors and those with disabilities
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Legal services
  • Real estate services
  • Accounting services
  • Waste pickup
  • Petroleum and fuel mining
  • National defense
  • Labor unions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

Essential infrastructure
Keeping the state operating is crucial during this time and repairs and maintenance are a part of that. Those who work to provide services at or for the following businesses have been deemed essential and can continue to operate:

Those working in construction in the following fields:

  • Hospital construction
  • Long-term care facility construction
  • Public works construction
  • School construction
  • Essential business construction
  • Housing construction


  • Building management and maintenance
  • Utility maintenance, including water, sewage, gas and electrical
  • Public transportation, roadways, highways and railroads


  • Airport operations
  • Utility operations
  • Distribution centers
  • Internet, video and telecommunication systems

Healthcare and Public Health Operations
Staying healthy is the entire point of the stay at home order, so naturally, Ohioans need the ability to access medical care and equipment. Ohioans are permitted to leave their homes to work at or obtain services through:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Dental offices
  • Pharmacies
  • Organizations collecting blood, platelets, plasma and other necessary materials
  • Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers
  • Obstetricians and gynecologists
  • Eye care centers -- including those that sell glasses and contacts
  • Home healthcare service providers
  • Mental health providers
  • Substance abuse providers
  • Companies involved in pharmaceutical, medical device and equipment, and biotechnology
  • Businesses that compile, model, analyze and communicate public health information
  • Manufactures, technicians, logistics and warehouse distributors of medical equipment and supplies

Animal Care
Pets are covered under the order and their health has been deemed essential, allowing Ohioans to leave their homes to work at or obtain services through:

  • Veterinary care
  • Other healthcare services for animals

Government workers and first responders
Ohioans are counting on the government now more than ever to fight against COVID-19 and restore life back to normal as soon as possible. To do that, employees of these fields have been permitted to work:

  • First responders
  • Emergency management personnel
  • Emergency dispatchers
  • Legislators
  • Judges
  • Court personnel
  • Jurors and grand jurors
  • Law enforcement and corrections personnel
  • Hazardous materials responders
  • Child protection and child welfare personnel
  • Housing and shelter personnel
  • Military
  • Government employees working for or to support another business deemed essential

Although it is very comprehensive, businesses deemed essential are not limited to those listed on Gov. DeWine’s Stay at Home order.

There are two “tests” for companies to continue operation under the order, according to Lt. Governor Jon Husted.

  1. If the company's services are listed on the essential supply chain
  2. The company is able to provide a clean, safe and healthy workplace

If a company meets both criteria, it can remain open.

If you believe your business is non-essential but it is still operating, you should discuss your concerns with your employer. If your employer is not complying with the stay at home order after discussing it with them, you can reach out to your local health department for more guidance.

RELATED: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Dr. Amy Acton issue 'Stay at Home' order for all of Ohio

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here is everything you need to know about testing for coronavirus in Ohio.

Here's a list of things in Northeast Ohio closed due to coronavirus concerns

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.