Wondering if you’re supposed to be going to work right now?

Under orders from Governor Andrew Cuomo, all non-essential businesses in New York State were directed to close in-office functions on March 22. The “New York State on PAUSE” plan set off a flurry of questions from business owners and their workers. Which companies have to shut down and what if they ignore the order?

Empire State Development is providing guidance for businesses to determine if they are subject to workforce reductions. Find their list of categories here.

ESD also provides a process for requesting an essential business designation here.

Any business that only has a single employee (ex: gas stations) has been deemed exempt and doesn’t need to submit a request to be designated as an essential business.

Some companies have adapted to temporarily produce emergency supplies. Businesses that have some essential services can stay open, but any non-essential operations in the same location were supposed to be shut down. For employees who continue working, companies must implement rules to accommodate social distancing of at least six feet.

Many workers who don’t think their jobs qualify as “essential” may be concerned if they are being told to report to work anyway.

New York State’s Attorney General is fielding those questions, complaints and concerns. Letitia James says anyone who believes their employer is violating labor laws or directives by the governor can file a complaint by calling her office at (212) 416-8700 or writing to Labor.Bureau@ag.ny.gov.