What is an essential business in Austin, Travis County?


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin and Travis County have issued orders for people to stay at home starting at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 through April 13.

People are only allowed to go outside for “essential activities,” meaning health care, supplies and services (such as groceries and food), outdoor activity while maintaining social distancing, to care for others or if they work in “essential businesses, critical infrastructure and government services.” All non-essentials businesses and operations “must cease,” the order states.

The order states employees should not report to work and should self-quarantine if they have signs of a respiratory infection, have a fever, have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have traveled to an area the World Health Organization considers a “Hotspot.”

Austin and Travis County have also directed employers to minimize exposure, including having people work more than six feet apart unless it’s necessary to promote essential activities, require people to stay home when sick and allow them to stay at home without a doctor’s note. Employers should work to maintain the confidentiality of those who have or are suspected to have COVID-19 and have an infectious disease response plan.

Government Services

“For purposes of this Order, ‘Essential Government Functions’ means all services
needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public and all agencies that provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public,” the order states.

  • All sworn Police Department, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services personnel emergency management personnel and emergency dispatchers
  • All court personnel, child protection and child welfare personnel
  • All military personnel
  • All personnel working for companies (including their subcontractors) who perform under contract to the Department of Defense providing materials and services to the Department of Defense
  • All personnel working for companies (including their subcontractors) who perform work under contract to State or Federal Governmental Entities for which they are required under state or federal law to remain open

Critical Infrastructure

Critical Infrastructure is “all public and private facilities and assets, including both physical and cyber systems, and other functions and sectors vital to the security, governance, public health, safety, and economic continuity of the City of Austin.”

  • banking and financial institutions
  • transit and transit facilities, transportation services, equipment and facilities
  • power, water, telecommunications, natural gas, and public utilities,
  • critical manufacturing including components for primary metals, machinery, electrical equipment and components, health and safety products and equipment, and transportation equipment
  • auto and vehicle parts manufacturing and assembly plants
  • technology manufacturing companies
  • information and communications, including press
  • emergency services
  • public health and medical services
  • fire and law enforcement
  • public works
  • agriculture and food
  • airport facilities and operations
  • sanitation services
  • other city government buildings or facilities, as designated by the City Manager
  • Construction, including public works construction, and construction of affordable housing or housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, social services construction, and other construction that supports essential uses, including essential businesses, government functions, or critical infrastructure, or otherwise as required in response to this public health emergency
  • Personnel and industries identified in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (“CISA”) Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Memorandum dated March 19, 2020_to continue their operation appropriately modified to account for CDC workforce and consumer protection guidance.

Essential Businesses

“For the purposes of this Order, covered businesses include any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure,” the order said.

  • Healthcare Operations: including caregivers, hospital and laboratory personnel and pharmacy employees of
    • hospitals
    • clinics
    • dentists
    • pharmacies
    • pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
    • other healthcare facilities
    • healthcare suppliers
    • home healthcare services providers
    • mental health providers
    • related retail sales or any related and/or ancillary health care services.
    • veterinary care
  • Store that sell groceries/other essential supplies:
    • Grocery stores
    • supermarkets
    • big-box stores
    • farmers’ markets
    • food banks
    • convenience stores
  • Food cultivation:
    • farming
    • livestock
    • fishing
  • Social Services and Charitable Organizations: Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals
  • News Media:
    • newspapers
    • television
    • radio
    • other news media services
  • Gas stations, businesses needed for transportation:
    • Gas stations
    • automobile dealerships
    • auto manufacturing and assembly
    • auto supply
    • auto repair
    • other related facilities
  • Financial Institutions:
    • banks and related financial institutions
    • consumer lenders
    • sales and finance lenders
    • credit unions
    • appraisers
    • title companies
    • pawnshops
    • entities that issue bonds
    • insurance companies
    • underwriters
    • agents
    • brokers
    • related insurance claims and agents
  • Hardware and supply stores: Hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, and other material necessary to support Essential Businesses, Critical Infrastructure, and Essential Government Functions
  • Critical Trades: Those who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities, Essential Businesses, Essential Government Functions, or Critical Infrastructure, including but not limited to utilities such as electricity, gas, water and wastewater, and other public works
    • plumbers
    • electricians
    • exterminators
    • pool cleaners
    • other service providers
  • Mail and Delivery Services: Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes
  • Laundry Services:
    • laundromats
    • dry cleaners
    • laundry service providers
  • Restaurants doing takeout and delivery: Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only.
  • Supplies to work from home: Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses, Critical Infrastructure and Essential Government Functions: Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses, Critical Infrastructure, and Essential Government Functions with the support, supplies, or components necessary to operate including but not limited to:
    • computers
    • audio and video electronics
    • microelectronics
    • semiconductors
    • hardware
    • paint
    • electrical and plumbing material
    • sanitary equipment
    • medical equipment
    • food and beverages
  • Food Delivery Services: Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences
  • Transportation:
    • aircraft
    • taxis
    • other private transportation providers (such as Uber and Lyft)
  • Home-Based Care and Services: Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children, including caregivers who may travel to provide care
  • Residential Facilities and Shelters: Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, children, and animals
  • Professional Services when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities or to further Essential Businesses, Essential Government functions, or Critical Infrastructure:
    • legal or accounting services
    • insurances services
    • real estate services
  • Information Technology Services: IT and IT services and their essential services vendors, including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, web-based services, and critical manufacturing as well as telecommunications services, internet access, and broadband/communications services
  • Moving Supply Services: Businesses that provide residential and/or commercial moving services and necessary moving supplies
  • Hotels and Motels: Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging or delivery or carry-out food services
  • Funeral Services: Funeral, mortuary, cremation, burial, cemetery, and related services, provided that social distancing of six feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible
  • Educational Institutions: Educational institutions — including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities — for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing other essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible
  • Childcare Facilities: Childcare facilities providing services that enable individuals exempted in this Order to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must operate under the following mandatory conditions:
    • Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 10 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
    • Children shall not change from one group to another.
    • If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each .group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other.
    • Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.

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