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Essential Vs. Non-Essential Businesses: Which Are Required To Close Under Gov. Stitt's New Order?

Posted at 9:04 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 10:39:43-04

By 11:59 Wednesday night, non-essential businesses in the 19 Oklahoma counties with confirmed coronavirus cases will shut down for 21 days. The announcement made by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, Tuesday.

Following the news, business owners and residents became confused on what qualifies as an essential or non-essential business.

The governor was specific in putting the non-essential label on dine-in restaurants, bars, hair salons, gyms, theaters, massage and tattoo parlors, and museums. He is also referencing what the government defines as an essential business.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security grouped 16 fields that have essential workers. The group includes communications, financial, and food and agriculture.

The government site also lists essential workforce fields. Some of them are healthcare, law enforcement, and public works. Those are a few of the businesses that can stay open under Governor Stitt's new order for the 19 counties with confirmed coronavirus cases. The closure-order applies to Tulsa, Mayes, and Pawnee Counties, to name a few.

Marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores are also in the clear. Both are considered essential businesses. They fall under the food and agriculture category which says, “Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores and other retail that sells human food, animal/pet food, and beverage products.”

Vape shop owners now wonder where they stand. The governor is expected to further clarify essential versus nonessential.

As for restaurants in the impacted 19 counties, they can operate on to-go only.

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