What does 'essential' mean for stay-at-home orders?

1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 3:30:00 PM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
By: Greta Serrin, KOMU 8 Digital Producer and The Associated Press

COLUMBIA - The COVID-19 pandemic is defining for the globe what's essential and what things we really can't go without, even though we might not need them for survival.

There's essential activities, essential travel and essential businesses.

Attempting to slow the spread of the virus, authorities in many places are determining what shops and services can remain open.

Many counties and cities are placing stay-at-home orders that have different types of "essential" guidelines.

Gov. Parson ordered a stay-at-home order for Missouri on Friday. The order will start on Monday, according to a press briefing with Parson.

So, what is allowed?

You can:

  • Go grocery shopping, go to the convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy
  • Visit healthcare professionals (call first!)
  • Go to restaurants for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for people outside of your household
  • Go outside for walks, bike rides, hikes etc. (maintain proper social distancing)
  • Go to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Receive deliveries from any business that delivers

You can't:

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Visit patients in the hospital, nursing home or other residential care facility
  • Leave your home unless for essential activities

So, is my job an essential service?

Businesses that are essential:

  • Healthcare, public health, law enforcement, public safety and first responders
  • Food, beverages, and agriculture (manufacturing, production, processing, cultivation including farming, livestock, fishing, baking, distribution of animals and good for consumption, providing food, shelter, and other necessities for animals)
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises (in-house delivery, third-party deliver, drive-through, curbside pick-up, and carry-out)
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Public works
  • Media
  • Gas stations
  • Banks
  • Hardware and supply stores along with critical trades like, plumbers and electricians
  • Mail, shipping industry
  • Transportation
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Childcare centers (for specific employees – first responders, healthcare workers, public health, etc)
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

What is the difference between "stay-at-home" orders and "social distancing"?

Stay-at-home orders are stricter versions of social distancing.

Stay-at-home means:

  • Stay home! This is so you are not exposed to the virus, or do not expose someone else
  • Can only go out for essential services
  • Stay 6-feet or more from people when walking, biking, hiking etc.
  • Do not gather in intentional groups

Social distancing means:

Stay 6-feet or more away from people.

Whether it's Asia, Europe, Africa or the United States, there's general agreement on what's essential: Health care workers, law enforcement, utility workers, food production and communications are generally exempt from lock downs.

On Saturday, Parson urged people to stay home at all costs to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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