What Is An Essential Business? Explained With Examples In 2021

Essential Business

Essential and non-essential businesses have become buzzwords recently. However, they are technically not new in the business world.Every small business owner is now concerned about essential business after the government announced the closure of non-essential businesses to stop spreading the coronavirus. So, what is an essential business? 

If you’re running a company, you must adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines of your state. Although the federal government has not yet announced to close the non-essential business, it has put some constraints on business.

On the other hand, some states have ordered non-essential businesses to close their operations. So, continue reading this article to know what is an essential business and how it is different from non-essential businesses.


What Is An Essential Business?

What Is An Essential Business?

There is no exact definition of an essential business because it can vary from one state/city to another. However, the guidelines announced by different states for the coronavirus regarding the closure of various businesses are overlapping a lot. 

Technically, an essential business is the type of business that offers the products or services which are necessary for people. For example, 

  • Grocery stores
  • Vegetable stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Hospitals
  • Banks
  • Home supply stores
  • Gas stations
  • Electric services, plumbing, etc.

Now, are you aware of what is an essential business? Additionally, some states included some other businesses in the list, which can remain open during the lockdown. But those businesses may not be allowed to open in other states. 

How Can Essential Businesses Vary From State To State?

Although these are some of the essential businesses that are open during the coronavirus pandemic, some states allowed some other businesses.

However, those businesses may need to follow the social distancing guidelines for operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your business falls in the following categories, ensure that you read the guidelines of your specific state. 

  • Food processing companies
  • Farmer markets
  • Agricultural firms
  • Construction firms
  • Law firms
  • Preschools that serve their services to children of employees working in essential businesses. 
  • Companies that support underprivileged people also come under essential business in some states.

If you’re running any type of business from the above, you should be aware of the proper guidelines of your state. I hope you understand ‘what is considered as an essential business?’

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What Is Non-Essential Business?

What Is Non-Essential Business?

Now that you understand, what is an essential business? Let’s discuss which businesses fall in the non-essential category. Non-essential businesses are those that provide products or services beyond basic needs.

These businesses may offer recreational products or services, retail goods, and other amenities which are not necessary for living. Some of the businesses in this category are: 

  • Theaters
  • Amusement parks
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Arts and music venues
  • Museums
  • Casinos
  • Sports venues
  • Casinos
  • Gym and fitness centers
  • Clothing stores, etc.

With the above information, I hope you are clear with the question ‘what is classified as an essential business, and non-essential business?’ Now, let’s talk about office-based business and what rules and regulations they need to follow. 

What About Office-Based Business?

What About Office-Based Business?

As per the CDC guidelines, office-based businesses that are not open to the public have not ordered the closure. However, many offices have been advised to take proactive steps to prevent spreading coronavirus by allowing employees to work remotely.

Thus, if you are running a small business and you can manage your work remotely, it’s better to instruct your workers to work from home

However, if you have a physical office but not open to the public and doesn’t come under any of this non-essential business, you need to take permission and open it with due diligence.

If possible, it’s advisable to shift your whole business operation to a virtual mode and allow your employees to work from home.

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FAQs On Essential And Non-Essential Business

These are some commonly asked questions that may shed some light on essential businesses and non-essential businesses. 

  1. What are safe workplace rules for essential employees?

As per the COVID-19 guidelines, here are some workplace rules that essential employees should follow:

  • Wearing a mask or face covering clothes or equipment is mandatory. The employees are allowed not to wear the masks only during eating and drinking. 
  • Employers should diligently employ a person or facility for temperature checkups and sanitizers. Every employee should sanitize before they enter the office. 
  • If work from home is possible, essential employees should adopt it.
  • They should eliminate non-essential travel from their business operations. 
  • Employers should distribute health insurance summaries and procedures.
  • What if I came in contact with a person who had symptoms or recently diagnosed with COVID-19?

Employees who have symptoms or are diagnosed with COVID-19 must not go to work. Even the persons who come in contact with them should also not go to work. It’s their responsibility to notify these matters to their supervisor. 

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As soon as you find any kind of symptoms, you must consult your doctor or healthcare provider. Hiding things cannot solve the problem; rather, it can worsen the situation. You should stay in home isolation and follow the prescription of your healthcare provider. 

2. What are the COVID-19 guidelines for construction sites?

Here, you get to know what is an essential business? In some states, construction firms are not ordered to close. However, construction sites must follow the below guidelines strictly: 

  • The portable bathrooms must be cleaned every single day. 
  • Employees should travel separately to and from. 
  • Change the work shift and limit size to maintain social distance, especially in indoor sites. 
  • Everyone needs to follow the COVID-19 protocol, no matter if the person is an executive or a worker. 
  • Employers should provide facemasks, sanitizers, soap, water, and gloves. 


Hopefully, the above information has helped you to understand what is an essential business? If you’re a business owner, you must be aware of the COVID-19 guidelines of your state. No matter which business you have, it’s crucial to follow the prevention steps to strictly stop spreading the coronavirus. 

A small act of negligence can lead to dangerous consequences. So, every individual must act responsibly in this situation. If you’ve any queries regarding essential and non-essential business, don’t hesitate to mention them in the comments section.

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