March 26th, 2020


By:  Heather Rooney McBride

On March 24, 2020, Springfield, Missouri, Ozark, Missouri, and Greene County, Missouri issued their Shelter-In-Place/Stay-At-Home Orders, which require all businesses that are not considered essential to close down all in-office and in-person activities, including any requirement that employees come into work, effective at 12:01 AM ON THURSDAY MORNING, MARCH 26th.  The Order will remain in effect for 30 days.  The orders are substantively the same with respect to the definition of essential businesses and also mandate the same effective date/time and duration. 

Please contact us at Rooney McBride & Smith if you are unclear whether your business is considered essential; however, below are the general categories of businesses that have been deemed essential and, thus, businesses in these categories may remain open.  Based on the text of the Orders, however,  for-profit, non-profit, and educational institutions that are not considered essential must shut down all but remote operations and send employees home. 

  • Construction
  • Healthcare and public health and supply manufacturing and distribution for health-related services/activities
  • Veterinary care
  • Necessity services for economically disadvantaged individuals
  • Mortuary services
  • In-home care for seniors, adults, children
  • Public safety and emergency responders
  • Hazardous materials and clean-up
  • Agriculture and food cultivation, including farming, livestock and fishing
  • Grocery stores and convenience stores and other retail establishments selling household consumer products
  • Carry-out services of restaurants and bars and take-away food services of schools
  • Energy, electricity, petroleum, natural and propane gas – acquisition, production, generation, processing, storage, distribution (including retail distribution)
  • Waste and wastewater maintenance and related operations
  • Logistics and transportation of goods and people related to essential businesses/essential activities
  • Vehicle repair and maintenance
  • Public works, including service provides such as plumbers and electricians whose services are necessary to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences and buildings, essential activities and essential businesses
  • Public infrastructure support and maintenance
  • Communications infrastructure support and maintenance, including retail that sells or repairs communication devices and media services
  • IT support and service centers
  • Inspection services for new construction and existing buildings
  • Hotels and similar establishments (except no dining-in services)
  • Critical manufacturing of materials, packaging and products needed for medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food/ag, chemical manufacturing, water and waste treatment, emergency services, and industrial defense
  • Legal and critical financial services (banks, insurance, appraisers, title companies, inspection services)
  • Lawn and landscaping services
  • Building supply stores
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners
  • Residential care facilities
  • Mailing and shipping services
  • Education activities to support distance learning
  • Childcare facilities  (preferably with 10 or fewer in a group each day)
  • Religious activity to support distance/virtual services (must be 10 or fewer in attendance)

If your business falls within any of the foregoing categories, then you may remain open, but must continue to abide by the physical distancing requirements with respect to your operations, as follows:  6 feet distance from others, washing hands as frequently as possible, no shaking hands and no physical contact, and regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces. 

If your business does not fall within one of the above-referenced categories, then you are to close everything but remote operations, and you cannot require employees to physically come into work.  Additionally, and importantly, the FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT provisions WILL NOW APPLY to employees of any business that is not considered essential, and thus has to furlough employees, provided the employer employs fewer than 500 people.  If you have additional questions regarding the type of leave or what employees who have been sent home should be paid, please contact us.

Also, given the tight turnaround on these Orders, many of you may have questions or would like to have an attorney-reviewed analysis of whether you qualify as an essential business.  We presently have several attorneys working on this project to assist you with questions, so if you have inquiries, please contact Rooney McBride & Smith, LLC today.