COVID-19 Guidance on Essential Businesses and Entities


ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR ENTITIES, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to the in-person restriction.  (Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health).

This guidance is issued by the New York State Department of Economic Development d/b/a Empire State Development and applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business and steps to request such designation.  With respect to business or entities that operate or provide both essential and non-essential services, supplies or support, only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restrictions.

For purposes of Executive Order 202.6, “Essential Business,” means:

  1. Essential health care operations including
  • research and laboratory services
  • hospitals
  • walk-in-care health facilities
  • veterinary and animal health services
  • elder care
  • medical wholesale and distribution
  • home health care workers or aides
  • doctor and dentist offices
  • nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
  • medical supplies and equipment providers
  1. Essential infrastructure including
  • utilities including power generation, fuel supply and transmission
  • public water and wastewater
  • telecommunications and data centers
  • airports/airlines
  • transportation infrastructure such as bus, rail, or for-hire vehicles, garages
  1. Essential manufacturing including
  • food processing, including all foods and beverages
  • chemicals
  • medical equipment/instruments
  • pharmaceuticals
  • safety and sanitary products
  • telecommunications
  • microelectronics/semi-conductor
  • agriculture/farms
  • paper products
  1. Essential retail including
  • grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
  • pharmacies
  • convenience stores
  • farmer’s markets
  • gas stations
  • restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
  • hardware and building material stores
  1. Essential services including
  • trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • mail and shipping services
  • laundromats/dry cleaning
  • building cleaning and maintenance
  • child care services
  • auto repair
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
  • storage for essential businesses
  • animal shelters or animal care or management
  1. News media
  2. Financial Institutions including
  • banks
  • insurance
  • payroll
  • accounting
  1. Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations including
  • homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
  • food banks
  • human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support
  1. Construction including
  • skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
  • other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes
  1. Defense
  • defense and natural security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government
  1. Essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses including
  • law enforcement
  • fire prevention and response
  • building code enforcement
  • security
  • emergency management and response
  • building cleaners or janitors
  • general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • automotive repair
  • disinfection
  • doormen
  1. Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public including
  • logistics
  • technology support
  • child care programs and services
  • government owned or leased buildings
  • essential government services

If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business.

To request designation as an essential business, please click here 

Restrictions on requesting designation as an essential business:

  • Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (i.e. gas station) has been deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an essential business.
  • Businesses ordered to close on Monday, March 15, 2020 under the restrictions on any gathering with 500 or more participants, including but not limited to, bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, casinos, auditoriums, concerts, conferences, worship services, sporting events, and physical fitness centers, are presumed to be compliant with NYS issued restrictions and must remain closed and are not eligible for designation as an essential business for purposes of this guidance.

For Guidance on cleaning and disinfection of facilities, refer to the New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and  Private Facilities for COVID -19 at _general_building.pdf.

For further information: New York State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Webpage

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Webpage:

Local health department contact information can be found at:


Updated Guidance on Essential Workplaces and Status of Direct Support Professionals


March 20, 2020
The Governor’s most recent Executive Order, EO 202.7, as well as the associated Guidance issued by the Empire State Development Corporation, sets forth in-person work restrictions,
effective as of March 21, 2020 at 8 pm, and until further notice.

These restrictions require all businesses and nonprofit entities to utilize telecommuting and work from home procedures to the extent possible.

Please remember that essential businesses, which include home health care workers/aides, direct support professionals (DSPs), elder care, nursing homes, residential health care/congregate care facilities, walk-in health facilities, hospitals, research/laboratories, and those providing medical equipment and supplies, are considered exempt from the restrictions mentioned above.

This notice is to confirm that your agencies, which provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities and are operated, certified, authorized or funded by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), qualify for this exemption and should remain in operation to the extent necessary to provide those services. This includes your administrative offices and those employees necessary to support the essential functions of your agency’s mission.

Please remember to continue to maintain good hygiene and precautionary measures, as COVID-19 can be spread from infected individuals to others through close personal contact.

Providers must encourage good hygiene and social distancing within the workplace and must keep staff home if they are sick.

Providers should regularly check the NYS Department of Health and OPWDD websites for the latest guidance on COVID-19 as the outbreak evolves.

March 17, 2020 – On the Status of Direct Support Professionals

Direct Support Professionals are essential and integral employees to OPWDD’s provision of services, and that is especially true during this public health emergency. OPWDD has remained in close consultation with our partners at the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department, as well as with those at the federal and local level, to ensure the health and safety of all staff.

In guidance issued by the NYS Education Department, found at:  Additional Guidance on Statewide School Closures Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak in New York State  – March 17, 2020, DSP’s are classified as essential health care workers:

“Essential health care workers may include licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, LPNs and nurse assistants or laboratory personnel and direct support professionals. First responders may include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, and firefighters.”

As you know this is a rapidly evolving situation. Please check the New York State Department of Health (DOH) Novel Coronavirus webpage for frequent updates.

OPWDD: Immediate Temporary Suspension of Day Program Services

The following was issued by OPWDD on March 17, 2020:

Immediate Temporary Suspension of Day Program Services

The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities is hereby directing the temporary suspension of services at all Day Habilitation, Day Treatment, and Prevocational Services across the state effective no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by 5 p.m.

All such programs must submit to OPWDD a plan for temporary suspension, using the enclosed template, as soon as practicable but no later than Friday, March 20, 2020. Providers are expected to implement temporary suspension measures immediately without OPWDD prior review.

We recognize that unexpected changes in scheduling, staffing, or a temporary suspension of day program services all represent significant hardships for families who support their loved ones in their homes. Day program services for people with developmental disabilities allow families to meet their other needs, including earning a living and providing care to other family members. Alternative programming for families that will be negatively affected by the suspension of services should be noted within your Plan.

All plans must be submitted to the dedicated mailbox for review at Questions and requests for technical assistance should be referred to your local OPWDD Regional Office.

The health and well-being of the people we mutually support is of utmost importance and OPWDD will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional updates as new information becomes available.

Download the Day Program Emergency Response Template (Excel).

CP works for New Yorkers with I/DD at Albany Legislative Advocacy Days

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther shows her support for 3for5.

Executives, staff and volunteer Board Members from CP of NYS Affiliates and other non-profit service providers from across the state joined together in Albany on Feb. 25-26 for Lobby Days.

CP State partnered with ALIA, DDAWNY, IAC, and NYAEMP to organize the Albany Legislative Advocacy Days this year.

Staff and volunteers from all over the state met with their elected representatives to call for 3for5, a 3% annual program funding investment for 5 years. A 3% increase is necessary to begin to correct the historical disparity in funding of services and supports that are the foundation of health for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. It keeps pace with inflation, and it is on par with overall growth of Medicaid funding.

Legislators were reminded that a decade of underinvestment has forced one third of OPWDD funded providers to close or reduce programs,  impacting 30,000 employees and 50,000 people with disabilities

Half of New York’s nonprofit providers have less than 40 days of cash on hand and 1/3 have less than 30 days of cash, just two pay periods away from not being able to make payroll.

At various points throughout the two days, we were joined by Sen. David Carlucci, Sen. Gustavo Rivera, and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther who are staunch supporters of 3for5.

In addition to 3for5, the group also advocated for the preservation of the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program and to shift current commercial insurance coverage from a claims-based model to a covered lives pool funded program. These are valuable and cost-effective tools that would ultimately save New Yorkers money.

Click here to view the organizations’ full list of budget requests.

Racker’s Dan Brown appointed to national HCBS Technical Expert Panel

Congratulations to Racker CEO Dan Brown on being appointed to serve on the national Home and Community Based Services Technical Expert Panel.

An initiative of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the HCBS Technical Expert Panel is a group of 15 thought-leaders from across the country who have been invited to help shape the direction of a set of HCBS quality measures.

For years, Dan has been a leader within our vibrant provider community. He currently co-chairs American Network of Community Options and Resources’ Board of Representatives, on which he has represented New York since 2018.

Dan is also a member of ANCOR’s Government Relations Committee. As ANCOR COO Gabrielle Sedor put it upon learning the news of Dan’s appointment, “I appreciate that Dan always brings multiple perspectives to the table, as well as a vested interest in helping to develop and identify measures that directly relate to quality supports that impact people’s lives in meaningful ways.”

“ANCOR is deeply appreciative of CMS’ efforts to convene the TEP, and we are immensely grateful for the work Dan  will do drive our field closer to meaningful quality measures,” said Barbara Merrill, ANCOR Chief Executive Officer.

“Dan is a leader and great advocate for our field, and I speak for everyone at CP state that I say his appointment is well-deserved,” said CP State Executive Director Mike Alvaro.

How is the workforce crisis affecting your agency?

The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) is asking that we share and that everyone complete this survey about the impact of the workforce crisis on your agency.


We need your help – please. As I hope you have seen, recently, we’ve been successfully pitching more coverage in the press about the direct support workforce crisis as validated by the NCI staff stability report. We have been successful in connecting members to reporters to discuss specific agency/corporation experience, but to keep this momentum going, we need more information. 

For that reason, I write to ask that you tell us: What does the direct support workforce crisis mean for your organization and the people you support? Are you turning away new referrals because of inadequate staffing? Are you shuttering existing programs or delaying the launch of new ones because you don’t have enough staff to make those programs successful? How else might this issue be hindering your ability to support people in community? 

To answer this question, please take four minutes as soon as you’re able to complete this short questionnaire about the impact of the DSP workforce crisis on your organization. Any information you share will be kept confidential, and no identifying information will be preserved if and when we disseminate the results of this survey. That said, we will certainly put these insights to good use as we work to even further raise the visibility of the issue and make the case for solutions that work in the long-term. 

I know you’re busy, and I know you have survey fatigue, so I am immensely grateful for the time you take to complete the survey. Please try to coordinate to ensure only one person per organization responds – but also please do not let the perfect get in the way of getting this done. 


Medicaid Redesign Team II to hold Public Comment Forum in Albany on February 21  

The New York State Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) II will hold the third of a series of public comment forums on February 21st in Albany, NY. The first public comment forum took place in New York City on February 14th, followed by a second in Rochester on February 18th. The purpose of these events is to give members of the community an opportunity to speak about changes to the State’s Medicaid program within the upcoming FY 2021 State Budget.

When: Friday, February 21, 2020, 10:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m.

Where: Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle St, Albany, NY 12207

*A live webcast of the public comment forum will be available on the MRT II website:

The MRT webpage also offers more detail on the specific responsibilities and charges tasked to the MRT II, a complete list of MRT II members, recorded webcasts of past meetings and public forums, and a link to the MRT II Public Proposal Form.

Contact: New York State Department of Health
518-474-7354, Ext. 1

Save the date: Quality and Compliance Conference on May 5!

The 13th Annual Quality & Compliance Challenges Conference for Providers Serving People with Disabilities will be held on Tuesday, May 5, 8:30 am  to 4 pm, at the Saratoga Hilton at 534 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Each year, this conference provides valuable information and insights for Corporate Compliance Officers, Quality Improvement Staff, Executive Leadership and other attendees to help ensure disability service providers are running effective, efficient, high quality programs.

This year’s sessions feature:

  • Rachel Dunn, Special Prosecutor & Inspector General, NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs
  • HIPAA Compliance Presentation by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights
  • The Relationship Between Human Resource Employment Concerns & Corporate Compliance
  • Managed Care and Creating a Culture of Quality

This is a great opportunity for Corporate Compliance Officers, Corporate Compliance Committee Members, Quality Assurance Officers, Board Members, and Executive Leadership.


For further information, contactThe Arc New York at (518) 439-8311 ~


NYC Ballet to host 3rd annual workshop in July for kids with I/DD

CP of NYS is pleased to announce that we will again partner with the New York City Ballet for the third annual dance workshop for children with disabilities at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, July 18.

Accompanied by a NYCB musician, two NYCB dancers will lead children in ballet-based warm-up and movement combinations inspired by a ballet from NYCB’s repertory, concluding in a performance for family and friends in attendance. Following the event, families can enjoy some light refreshments and a photo and autograph opportunity with the NYCB artists.

Dr. Joseph Dutkowsky, a member of the CP of NYS Board of Directors has created a relationship with the New York City Ballet that has given hundreds of children the opportunity to experience the joy of dance.

At the Saratoga Springs workshop we pair each young participant with a volunteer “buddy” to assist during the workshop and performance. The “buddies” can be a family member, friend or other individual who will work directly with the young dancers to help them with the movements. If you, or anyone you know, would like to volunteer to be a buddy, please have them contact CP of NYS staff listed below.

If you have questions or would like more information please contact Al Shibley at or Deb Williams at or by phone at 518-436-0178.

April 21-22: Human Resources Professionals Conference For the Disability Provider Community


Make plans to attend the 4th Annual Human Resources Professionals Conference For the Disability Provider Community!

Previously brought to you by COPA, this two-day conference will feature HR subject matter experts who will discuss trending topics ranging from cultural diversity to recruiting in the current employment market.  Rich Landau, a principal with Jackson Lewis, will join us once again as the Opening Session Speaker.  A dynamic presenter, Rich has a wealth of practical knowledge about current labor and employment law practice. In addition to information-packed sessions, there will be informal time to catch up with peers and enjoy Saratoga Springs.

Click here to register!

Reserve your hotel room at Embassy Suites today!  There are a limited number of rooms available for this event – early registration is encouraged.

If you have any questions, please contact Tim Ferguson,

More information to come… We look forward to seeing you in April!!