Stay Home Stay Safe Sector Specific Guidance

If you have questions about whether your business meets the definition of “critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security” as per Governor Scott's Executive Order, please review our Stay Home, Stay Safe FAQs for Businesses and the Sector Specific Guidance below. 

Agriculture and Forestry

In the Agriculture and Forestry sector, in-person operations may continue under the Governor’s Executive Order under certain circumstances. Section 6 (k) of the Executive Order states that “agriculture and farms, animal shelters, production and delivery of seed, chemicals and fertilizers, CSAs and veterinarians” are deemed critical and may continue in-person business operations. The Agency has also determined that additional national guidance includes Forestry in this category. Workers in forestry and logging, and those who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, wood energy and other wood products are deemed critical to economic and national security per Section 6 (e) and 6 (k) of the Executive Order. Secondary manufacturing of non-essential wood products, such as furniture, toys, and home goods should temporarily be suspended.

Additional guidance for greenhouses and nurseries:  1) those used to grow and/or sell food or crops are engaged in agriculture and/or farming may continue limited in-person business; 2) greenhouses may sell to farmers to support commercial agricultural production; 3) those who sell to non-farm consumers may care for and maintain plants provided they avoid in-person contact and no more than one individual is in the facility at a time; 4) Ornamental and vegetable retail operations to consumers are currently not deemed essential, and businesses engaged in these activities should follow CONSUMER RETAIL guidance. We understand that as the weather warms we may need to amend this guidance, and this policy will be reviewed as appropriate in the coming weeks. 

Arts and Culture Organizations

Arts and Culture organizations should suspend in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Please do not continue offering in-person programming or online programming that requires multiple people from different households to be in the physical presence of each other.  Organizations such as camps, music venues, theaters, and museums must close to the public, and in-person operations should be limited to only critical facilities maintenance, animal care, and security.  Arts and Culture organizations conducting retail business are deemed non-critical and should only conduct business remotely following guidance issued surrounding consumer retail, using telephone and internet orders and shipping options that do not require in-person operations. 

Bars, Restaurants and Food Service 

Bars, Restaurants and Food Services may continue limited in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. This policy does not change the Governor’s Executive Order on Restaurants. Restaurants can continue take-out, curbside and delivery services.  In addition, Section 6 (e) of the Executive Order deems food production to be critical.  Businesses that produce any food or beverage are deemed critical.

Biotechnology

Biotechnology companies may continue limited in-person business operations under the Governor’s Executive Order for those operations supplying services to businesses providing essential services. Only those activities required to support COVID-19 response should continue. Examples include food diagnostics for quality control, testing of goods and services for the health care and pharmaceutical industries, and manufacture of medically necessary items. All other in-person operations that are not critical must be suspended.

Construction

The construction sector must suspend most in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Only construction needed to support the COVID-19 response, maintain critical infrastructure, or for the safety, sanitation and operations of residences or businesses is allowed. As an example, replacing a failing roof, failed electrical system, or broken waterline would be acceptable. Additionally, jobsites should be left in a safe and secure manner before ceasing in-person construction. Providing services to a hospital or healthcare facility would be acceptable. Non-essential construction should cease during the duration of the Executive Order. 

Consumer Retail Establishments

Most retail businesses must suspend in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order.  Only retail stores specifically referenced in 6 (f), 6 (g), and 6 (h) of the Executive Order are allowed to continue operating.  All other retail stores must cease in-person operations. However, if sales can be completed via mail, phone, or online those transactions would be allowed.

Appliance stores may continue to repair and sell appliances, but may not keep showrooms open during the duration of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order. Stores should only offer sales through phone, online, delivery, and curbside pick-up and delivery.  Whenever possible, delivery should be restricted to curb-side delivery, and customers should bring the appliances into their own homes.

ACCD has directed all large retailers to cease sales of non-essential items in stores and offered additional guidance for those retail stores selling in person essential goods to the public 

Distribution

Distribution companies may continue limited in-person business under the Governor’s Executive Order for only those operations supplying services to businesses providing essential services. Only activities required to support COVID-19 response should continue. Examples include supply and distribution of items related to the food and beverage industry; supplies for water, wastewater, power, or other utilities; and supplies for the health care and pharmaceutical industries. All other in-person operations that do not support the COVID-19 response, or health and safety, must be suspended.

Education and Childcare

Education, Childcare and related businesses must comply with previously issued Agency of Education guidance issued here: https://education.vermont.gov/news/covid-19-guidance-vermont-schools. Schools and colleges may continue to offer remote learning opportunities, assuming all instruction does not require in person business to occur at the college (multiple educators in the same room).  For schools and colleges that have students living on campus unable to return to a primary residence (international students, vulnerable populations, etc), the college may continue operating as an essential housing provider. This would include providing facilities management, limited food service in accordance with previous Executive Orders, and security services.  All CDC and VDH guidance should continue to be adhered to, and institutions should try to eliminate in-person business operations, which includes contact with colleagues as well as students.  

Energy and Utilities

Businesses in the Energy and Utility sectors must suspend most in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Only activities required to support COVID-19 response, maintain critical infrastructure and construction, or services for safety, sanitation and operations of residences or businesses should occur.  As an example, operating or repairing the electrical grid, natural gas systems, water and wastewater systems, primary home heating and cooling systems, and existing solar arrays would be acceptable. Work on grid critical infrastructure including power generation and supply chains of that infrastructure should continue. Businesses providing services to COVID-19 responders and businesses related to the response may continue.  Activities related to the processing, transport, storage and distribution of fuel (wood, oil, natural gas, gasoline, etc.) is also acceptable. The Agency directs that all other non-essential, in-person business operations cease, to include new commercial and residential solar and the installation of new commercial or residential heating, ventilation, and cooling systems in new construction.  Non-essential construction is covered elsewhere in this guidance and restricts in-person business operations for new water and wastewater infrastructure. Jobsites should be left in a safe and secure manner before ceasing in-person operations.

Financial, Legal and Professional Services 

Financial, Legal and Professional Services businesses must suspend in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order unless specifically exempted.   Employees should not be reporting to offices, and businesses should cease face-to-face customer interactions. Businesses in this industry that cannot transition functions to remote operations shall suspend those functions unless doing so would do harm to their client. Examples of allowable in-person activities include meeting with a low-income client without access to internet to help them complete their tax return to ensure a timely refund (phone preferred if possible); an attorney meeting or representing a client facing imminent personal harm and no remote option was available; or a professional service provider working with a hospital, first response group, or business identified in the Executive Order.  Special information about Banking:  Please read the Department of Financial Regulation guidance issued on March 26th.  

First Responders

First Responder organizations may continue in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order under certain circumstances. Section 6 (b) states that “law enforcement, public safety and first responders, including fire, ambulance services, emergency medical technicians and emergency management personnel” are deemed critical and may continue in-person business operations.  

Food and Beverage Manufacturing 

The Food and Beverage Manufacturing sector may continue in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Section 6 (e) of the Executive Order deems food and beverage production to be critical. 

Funeral and Mortuary Services

Funeral services, mortuary services and related businesses may continue in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. The Agency directs organizations to follow the guidance found in Addendum 4 of Executive Order 01-20 limiting gatherings to fewer than 10 people in the same space at the same time.

Health and Beauty

Health and Beauty businesses must suspend in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Gyms, fitness studios, salons, spas, and other similar businesses and the retail operations that support these businesses should cease, including employee-to-employee interactions within the business.

Healthcare Providers 

Healthcare Providers must limit in-person services to only essential care. Executive Order Addendum 3 directed healthcare providers to postpone “all non-essential adult elective surgery and medical and surgical procedures, including all dental procedures in the safest but most expedient way possible.” This guidance is consistent with the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order.  Healthcare providers shall provide care for those with significant acute needs, including all general medicine including but not limited to the fields of optometry, ophthalmology, dentistry, chiropractic, physical and rehabilitative therapy, and other pain management therapies, or emergency or post-operative care situations.  Psychiatry, mental health counseling, hospice, home care for or elderly and disabled, etc.  are all considered essential services for human health and safety.  Non-acute care, including fitness centers, whether indoors or outdoors, should cease in-person business operations. Service providers to acute healthcare providers are specifically referenced in the Executive Order, and may continue limited in-person business operations ONLY to support essential businesses.  Healthcare providers must eliminate in-person business operations whenever possible.

Human Services

Human Services businesses must suspend most in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order, with the exception of some critically designated services.  These organizations are encouraged to offer services remotely. Organizations providing services that cannot be delivered remotely to economically disadvantaged populations may continue offering limited in-person services if necessary.  Organizations may also provide in-person services if that service is essential to a person’s health or safety, such as homelessness services and economic aid.

Insurance 

Firms in the Insurance sector must suspend most in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order.  Insurance companies, agencies and professionals that can conduct business functions remotely can continue to operate those parts of their business. Businesses in this industry that cannot transition functions to remote operations shall suspend those functions unless deemed necessary. Examples where the executive order allows these functions to continue: (1) there is a temporary new open enrollment period for health insurance that requires an employee to access systems at a specific location, so long as the entry is limited to one or two employees, they would be permitted to enter the building to do this; (2) there is a house fire that requires an insurance adjuster to visit the property in person to assess the damage to get the claim paid; and (3) there are on-location systems that need to be accessed in order to process premium payments to ensure policies stay current or new policies can be issued.

Laundry and Dry Cleaning

Laundry and Dry Cleaning businesses must suspend most in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Laundry and Dry Cleaning businesses may continue limited in-person operations supplying services to businesses or organizations providing essential services as designated by Section 6 (r) of the Governor’s Executive Order as a service provider to organizations in direct response to COVID-19 and other national security matters. Businesses providing cleaning, processing and management of PPE and other textiles to healthcare locations and laundromats and drycleaners providing service to first responders would be examples of acceptable activity. Non-essential business should cease, to limit in-person transactions. Laundromats may remain open as they provide essential services to those without in-home laundry. 

Lodging, Accommodations and Resorts 

New guidance for the Lodging and Accommodations sector in Addendum 7 of the Governor’s Executive order clarifies that lodging facilities – which includes hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short term rentals (e.g. VRBO, Homeaway, Airbnb, etc.), and all public and private camping facilities and RV parks – are to be closed except for stated exemptions when supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. Lodging may be provided for the following purposes: housing for vulnerable populations (emergency shelter for homeless individuals) as arranged through the state; providing accommodations for health care workers, or other workers deemed necessary to support public health, public safety or critical infrastructure; use of lodging properties being used as quarantine facilities as arranged by the state; and limited verifiable extenuating circumstances for the care and safety of Vermonters.

As per Addendum 7, online reservations must be suspended. This includes all non-essential reservations in the months outside the duration of the Executive Order. No online or phone sales, bookings or reservations are allowed until further notice. This guidance will be reassessed after a few weeks. Lodging providers must post a prominent notice on their web platforms which advises potential guests that reservations for lodging in Vermont that is deemed essential by the Executive Order will only be accepted by phone to screen for validity. Existing guests may remain through the end of their scheduled stay, but lodging providers may not allow extended stays or new reservations, except for the essential purposes set forth above.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing businesses must suspend in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order, unless you are exempted for critical manufacturing. Exempt manufacturing includes food and animal feed manufacturing, processing and supply; pharmaceuticals and other manufacturing necessary to support the COVID-19 response; manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains; and for supply chains associated with critical transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and the defense industrial base. If you manufacture multiple items, you should suspend manufacturing of non-critical items and only allow in-person operations for those portions that serve the permissible activities. 

In addition, Property Management functions for the safety, sanitation and facility maintenance of manufacturing businesses could still occur.  As an example, security and proper heating and ventilation is required even though the facility may not have operating personnel.  Additionally, jobsites should be left in a safe and secure manner before ceasing in-person construction.

Media

Media sector businesses may continue in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order under limited circumstances. Section 6 (o) of the Executive Order deems news media as a critical business that may continue in-person business operations.  In addition, the printing and distribution businesses associated with news media operations may continue operating in-person as necessary to serve clients exempted from the order.

Mining

Mining businesses must suspend in-person business operations under the Governor’s Executive Order.  However, jobsites should be left in a safe and secure manner before ceasing in-person operations.

Municipalities

Municipalities may continue in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order under certain circumstances. Section 6 (b) states that “law enforcement, public safety and first responders, including fire, ambulance services, emergency medical technicians and emergency management personnel” are deemed critical and may continue in-person business operations. Section 6 (d) states that “construction necessary to support the COVID-19 response and maintain critical infrastructure” are deemed critical and may continue in-person business operations. Please endeavor to limit your contact with the public to the extent possible, practice social distancing when practicable, and only undertake public interactions required to maintain the health and safety of the public.

Other business-related activities that are not providing services or functions deemed critical public health and safety or economic and national security are directed to suspend in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order unless specifically exempted. Services such as land records and title searches; marriage license applications; birth or death certificate searches; library lending are not considered critical to public health and safety or economic and national security. The Vermont Secretary of State’s Office has provided further guidance regarding essential municipal services, including elections and open meeting law: https://sos.vermont.gov/secretary-s-desk/commentary/covid-19-impacts-and-considerations-for-open-meeting-law-elections-and-public-records-access/.

Outdoor Recreation 

Outdoor Recreation businesses must suspend most in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Golf course, marinas, ski resorts, mountain biking establishments, and other similar businesses and the retail operations that support these businesses should cease, including customer interactions and employee-to-employee interactions within the business.  If an outdoor economy business provides specific services to critical response organizations (such as a marina providing service to a police boat), they should only provide those services to the specific critical response organizations.  Recreational Vehicle Parks and Campgrounds should only operate in accordance with guidance issued for lodging establishments.

Pet and Animal Care

Pet care, animal care and related businesses must suspend most-in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order.  Section 6 (f) of the Executive Order specifically allows in-person business operations related to animal feed and essential supplies and Section 6 (k) allows for in-person operations of animal shelters and veterinarians.  Under this guidance, businesses that sell pet food could continue in-person operations.  Animal shelters for animals without permanent homes can continue in-person operations to care for animals. Dog sitting services, animal boarding (except for agricultural purposes), dog walking services, and doggie daycares should cease operations, unless the care of animals allows for essential workers related to the COVID-19 crisis to go to work. In situations where businesses provide essential services to targeted clients, they should not also provide services to the broad public.  

Property Management and Landscaping

Property Management and Landscaping businesses may conduct limited in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order.  Section 6 (m) of the Executive Order states that “other building and property services for the safety, sanitation and operations of residences or other businesses” are deemed critical.  The Agency interprets this to include snow removal, building services such as janitorial services, and security services, and maintenance and repair operations that are essential to protecting property.  Discretionary construction is not essential and addressed elsewhere in this guidance.  Businesses should not continue aesthetic services such as gardening, tree pruning (if not essential for safety), or spring lawn cleanups. 

Real Estate 

Real estate sales and brokerage firms must suspend in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Real estate functions that can be conducted online, by phone or email can continue. And as previously directed by the Governor, employees should be working remotely. Property appraisals, inspections, title services and other activities that require in-person business are not permitted during the term of the Executive Order.

Religious Organizations 

The Agency recognizes the constitutional significance of religious liberty and the personal significance to many of worship in a religious community. Unfortunately, the significant health risks posed by this highly contagious virus, particularly to elderly and at-risk Vermonters, requires religious organizations to suspend worship in a brick and mortar setting. When conducting alternative worship services, organizations are directed to eliminate in-person contact. We ask faith leaders to help members of their congregations understand the dangers of COVID-19, the importance of staying home for the immediate future  and the need for this measure. Section 6 (m) of the Executive Order specifically authorizes your organization to continue in-person operations for building and property services for the safety, sanitation and operations of facilities.   

Skilled Trades

Skilled trades, including electricians, plumbers, heating and ventilation, chimney repair must suspend most in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Only activities required to support COVID-19 response, maintain critical infrastructure and construction, or services for safety, sanitation and operations of residences or businesses should occur. As an example, replacing a failing plumbing system or failed electrical system would be acceptable. Providing services to a hospital or healthcare facility are permitted. All optional servicing, such as residential remodeling and new construction, should cease during the duration of the Executive Order. Jobsites should be left in a safe and secure manner before ceasing in-person operations.

Software Development and Information Technology

Businesses in the Software Development and Information Technology sectors must suspend most in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order.  Employees should not be reporting to offices, and businesses should cease face-to-face customer interactions. Software and IT professionals that can move all or part of their business to remote operations can continue to operate those parts of their business. Businesses in this industry that cannot transition functions to remote operations shall suspend those functions unless they are directly involved in the maintenance of software / hardware associated with data centers or server farms where 24/7 maintenance is necessary.  Businesses that are providing assistance to COVID-19 response or other national security matters as defined in the Agency’s guidance may also be able to continue limited in-person operations to meet the demands of those customers, but should not be providing any other in-person operations to non-critical customers.  

Solid Waste and Refuse  

Solid Waste and Refuse Systems businesses may continue limited in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order.  Section 6 (j) of the Executive Order specifically designates “trash collection and disposal, recycling and operations and maintenance of drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure” as critical.  

Transportation

In the Transportation sector businesses may continue in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order under limited circumstances. Critical transportation services for people and goods are deemed critical, this includes rideshare, transit, and rental car companies (when used for essential travel). Auto repair shops may remain open but should implement ways of doing business that reduce in-person operations as much as possible. Auto dealers may continue to sell vehicles if they implement policies that eliminate in-person customer interactions (this includes closing dealer showrooms).

Visit ThinkVermont.com for more inspiration and information on living, working and doing business in Vermont.