Yesterday, Monday, March 23, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order instructing Washingtonians to stay home unless they are pursuing an essential activity.

What does this mean for area businesses? Well, all non-essential businesses are required to close unless employees can work from home. But the list of sectors deemed essential is quite expansive.

Major categories include:

  • Healthcare/public health
  • Emergency Services
  • Food and Agriculture (including grocery stores and restaurants serving take-out)
  • Energy
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Communications and Information Technology
  • Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Financial Services
  • Chemical
  • Defense Industrial Base

For the full list of essential operations and positions, visit this website.

If your company does not fit into these categories, you may need to close up shop or transition operations to be entirely remote. If you need to clarify your status or want to petition to designate your company as essential, you can email

“We know life will look different tomorrow in Washington,” Inslee said in a prepared statement on Monday. “And we know tonight’s announcement affects millions of our livelihoods. But these necessary restrictions will protect us and our loved ones so that we have a livelihood to come back to. We will keep working until this is defeated.”

For more resources for employers affected by COVID-19, visit the Association of Washington Business (AWB) website.