Stay Home Stay Safe FAQs for Businesses

Governor Scott’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order requires businesses and non-profits that are not critical to the public health and safety, as well as economic and national security, to suspend in-person business operations  through the duration of the Executive Order.

To help businesses and non-profit organizations determine if their in-person business operations are essential to public health and safety, economic or national security, the Agency has developed Sector-Specific Guidance and the Frequently-Asked Questions found here. 

As businesses are considering this guidance, we ask that when in doubt, the business err on the side of caution in the name of public health.  

Businesses with in-person operations that are essential to public health and safety, economic or national security under the Executive Order must still comply with all current CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidelines.

Stay Home Stay Safe Sector-Specific Guidance

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need permission to continue operating my business under the Executive Order?

No. Please use the available guidance to determine if your business may continue in-person business operations. When in doubt, please err on the side of caution in the interest of public health. The Agency is not issuing certification that you are complying with the Order, and is not issuing waivers. Businesses should evaluate their in-person operations and make decisions in the interest of protecting Vermonters’ lives during this public health crisis. If you don’t believe the guidance addresses your particular situation, you may submit a request for additional guidance.

Is my business included as critical to public health, safety, or economic and national security in Vermont?

The Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order specifics the following sectors and activities as critical:

(a) Health care operations such as COVID-19 testing and clinical research, hospital personnel and other healthcare providers, public health workers and other healthcare service providers, laboratory services, caregivers, logistics, technology, security and custodial support, blood and plasma donors and mortuary services;

(b) Law enforcement, public safety and first responders, including fire, ambulance services, emergency medical technicians and emergency management personnel;

(c) Critical infrastructure including utilities, telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure;

(d) Construction necessary to support the COVID-19 response and maintain critical infrastructure;

(e) Critical manufacturing, including food and animal feed manufacturing, processing and supply, pharmaceuticals and other manufacturing necessary to support the COVID-19 response as well as economic and national security;

(f) Retail serving basic human needs such as grocery stores, pharmacies, other retail that sells food, beverage, animal feed and essential supplies, provided, these retail operations shall be conducted through on-line and telephone orders for delivery and curb-side pickup to the extent possible;

(g) Fuel products and supply;

(h) Hardware stores, provided, these retail operations shall be conducted through online and telephone orders for delivery and curb-side pickup to the extent possible;

(i) Transportation sector and agricultural sector equipment parts, repair and maintenance,  provided these retail operations shall be conducted through on-line and telephone orders for delivery and curb-side pickup to the extent possible;

(j) Trash collection and disposal, recycling and operations and maintenance of drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure;

(k) Agriculture and farms, animal shelters, production and delivery of seed, chemicals and fertilizers, CSAs and veterinarians;

(l) Lodging, to the extent required to support COVID-19 response, critical infrastructure and national security;

(m) Other building and property services for the safety, sanitation and operations of residences or other businesses;

(n) Mail and shipping services;

(o) News media;

(p) Banks and related financial institutions, provided, however, routine retail banking operations shall be limited to transactions conducted through automated teller machines, drive-through services and online and telephone services;

(q) Providers of necessities and services to economically disadvantaged populations; and

(r) Other vendors of technical, security, logistics, custodial and equipment repair and maintenance services necessary to support the COVID-19 response, critical infrastructure and national security.

If I am still not sure, how else can I determine if my business provides services deemed critical to public health and safety, and economic and national security?

  • Businesses should first consult the text of the Executive Order to determine if they are determined critical.
  • Businesses should review these Frequently Asked Questions and the Sector Specific Guidance.
  • If a business still has questions, they should refer to the NAICS Code Guidance List to help determine which sectors and activities are critical. If the list says “Yes” in the “Critical” column, then your business may remain operational, subject to the restriction that you use remote work wherever possible and also need to follow all Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Vermont Department of Health (VDH) guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • ACCD has compiled a list of professions deemed essential. This list may help determine if your business is exempt from in-person business operation restrictions under the Executive Order.  Inclusion on this list should not be interpreted as a green light to continue operating as usual. The business should only continue in-person operations that are necessary to meet health and security concerns and must comply with previous Executive Orders concerning telework and remote work, and follow all CDC and VDH guidelines.

How do I know if I fall under these industry descriptions?

Included with the descriptions is the relevant 4-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. All businesses should have a NAICS code or codes on their unemployment insurance forms or on their most recent tax return. The U.S. Census Bureau is a helpful resource to learn more about individual NAICS codes.

What if my business has multiple NAICS codes?

If your business includes a NAICS code that is essential, that function of your business can remain operational. The non-essential functions of your business should suspend, unless those functions can be transitioned to remote working.

What if I think my business should be open but I am being asked to close?

If any business still needs additional direction after reviewing the Executive Order and sector specific guidance provided, a business may submit a Request for Additional Guidance. Businesses do not need an official certification from ACCD to continue in-person operations if they provide services essential to public health and safety, economic or national security. Businesses with in-person operations that are essential to public health and safety, economic or national security under the Executive Order must still comply with all current CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidelines.

I still don’t qualify. What now?

You’re not alone. These are extraordinary times requiring extraordinary measures and sacrifices.  Many employers and workers will face financial hardship during the COVID-19 outbreak. The State and its Federal partners are working hard to bring aid and relief to Vermonters.

What if my business is primarily online? Do I still need to close?

The purpose of Stay Home, Stay Safe is to reduce person-to-person contact. If you operate an online business, or have transitioned to remote working with no in-person transactions, you can continue operating. A reminder that an online business must also eliminate in-person interactions amongst employees also.  All in-person business that has not been deemed critical shall suspend operations. Businesses do not need an official certification from ACCD to continue in-person operations if they provide services essential to public health and safety, economic or national security.

What is the definition of “in-person business operations”?

The Stay Home, Stay Safe order directs businesses to suspend in-person business operations and transactions.  In-person business operations refer to both employees and customers.  A business should not operate, unless exempted within the order, if its operation requires one person to come into contact with another person.  This may occur because people share a workspace, must interact with a customer, or have incidental close contact outside of the CDC recommended social distancing. 

I am a single person business, must I suspend operations if I am not on the critical list?

No, if you are able to conduct your business without in-person business interactions, you may continue as long as you have complied with previous Executive Orders concerning remote work and telework.  However, if your business requires you to do site visits that might require you to have an in-person contact, you may not be able to continue operations. Please review the sector specific guidance for additional information and examples.

What if I work in a different state?

The Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order is designed to minimize unnecessary in-person interactions. Different states may have different guidance that creates confusion. When in doubt, Vermonters should abide by the more protective guidance available, if possible. Vermonters working in neighboring states should discuss what options they have with their employer. In instances where an employer has been deemed essential in a neighboring state, Vermont recognizes an employee’s responsibility to report to work in the neighboring state.

Are colleges required to suspend all in person business? 

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 staff or professors in the same room).  For 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.

Is my private rental property (Airbnb, etc.) considered to be a lodging establishment under the Executive Order?

Yes, any commercial transaction providing accommodations is considered lodging. Short term rental owners, such as property owners using Airbnb, must also comply with this order.  See the sector-specific guidance for Lodging for detailed of permitted lodging under the Executive Order.

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