Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a Stay Home – Work Safe Order, effective at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 through April 3, 2020, at least. The Order—which applies to all businesses operating within Harris County—only permits continued operation of “Essential Business.”1 Those Essential Businesses are defined to include:
The Order further commands all Essential Businesses to comply with the stated Social Distancing Guidelines and several infection protocol precautions to the greatest extent possible.
In addition to these broad categories of Essential Businesses, the Order also includes mandates for some specific businesses. To that end, the following businesses have been ordered to close:
All owners, managers, and operators of any facility “that is likely to be impacted by this Order” are “strongly encouraged” to post a copy of the Order onsite and provide a copy to any inquiring customers or employees.
While little to no common law precedent defining the terms and circumstances set forth in the Order, if you have any concerns regarding whether your business qualifies as Essential Business or not, please reach out to Locke Lord for further strategic analysis.
1. The Order clarifies that all businesses “may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).”
2. These sectors include: (1) chemical, (2) commercial facilities (e.g., entertainment and media, lodging, real estate, and retail), (3) communications (e.g., satellite, wireless), (4) critical manufacturing (e.g., primary metals, machinery, electrical, transportation), (5) dams, (6) defense industrial base, (7) emergency services, (8) energy, (9) federal services, (10) food and agriculture (primarily with respect to water/waste water systems, transportation systems, energy, and chemical manufacturing of fertilizers and pesticides), (11) healthcare and public health, (12) information technology, (13) nuclear reactors, materials, and waste sector, (14) sector-specific agencies, (15) transportation systems, and (16) waste and wastewater systems. More information is available at: https://www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors.
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