For Businesses

Non-Essential Businesses to Close

Governor John Carney issued a eighth modification to his State of Emergency declaration on March 30, 2020, requiring high risk essential businesses to screen employees. This follows the Governor’s March 22, 2020 issuance of the fourth and fifth modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, ordering Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closing all non-essential businesses in Delaware to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Non-Essential Businesses are Ordered to Close

On Sunday, March 22, 2020, Governor Carney ordered non-essential businesses in Delaware to close. The orders go into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. They will remain in effect until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.

Use the new sortable table of essential and non-essential businesses.

Or, refer to the list of essential and non-essential businesses.

For questions on the non-essential business closure in Delaware, contact the Division of Small Business at, or call 302-577-8477 between 9:00am to 4:00pm during the week.

Frequently Asked Questions about this closure

  • No, it does not, and no such paperwork is needed. A full list of essential industries can be found here. If your business activity is on that list, your business is permitted to remain open as long as it follows all necessary CDC guidelines for safety at this time.
  • Staffing questions should be addressed between employers and employees. As long as employers are following applicable guidelines on both leave and on the recent essential designation, then employees should handle any requests directly with employers.
  • The easiest way is to use the four-digit NAICS code associated with the business. If you are the owner of the business, you can locate your NAICS code by a) looking at your unemployment insurance forms, b) looking at your most recent tax returns, or c) searching Google for your industry followed by the term “NAICS code”.
  • If you are not the owner of your business, please contact your manager or other appropriate employment supervisor and ask them for clarification on the business status.
  • Failure to follow CDC guidelines will result in closure on an individual firm basis until the State of Emergency is lifted. Businesses who continue to operate even if they have been deemed non-essential will be given an initial grace if their failure to comply was done after a good faith effort to clarify their status, but those who do not comply and knowingly do so will be subject to civil and in some cases criminal penalties.
  • Follow the least restrictive code. If one code is deemed essential while others are not, the business should be considered essential unless further clarification has been given by the state to you directly or through an industry trade group.
  • The NAICS code that should be used is the NAICS code that the business had for their most recent unemployment and/or tax filings prior to the issuance of the State of Emergency. A business classified as non-essential who changes or adds a NAICS code in order to fall under the essential category will be subject to the same civil and criminal penalties as a company that knowingly fails to comply with the order.

If You Are an Essential Business, Below is Guidance to Keep Your Staff and Your Community Safe

The following COVID-19 infection control measures must be enforced for businesses providing essential services to remain open.

  • Teleworking must be maximized, especially for individuals at highest risk of poor outcomes, such as those over age 60 and those with chronic underlying conditions.
  • Follow all State and CDC guidelines and recommendations for social distancing for staff and customers. Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible (with the exception being healthcare workers using appropriate PPE).
  • Screen all staff for symptoms and illness prior to entering worksite.
  • Separate sick employees from other individuals immediately.
  • Prohibit employees who have been told they must be isolated or quarantined from work until they have been cleared by DPH or a medical professional.
  • Have handwashing stations and / or hand sanitizer readily available for all employees throughout the day. Staff should wash hands with warm water and soap when entering and leaving worksite.
  • Enforce cough and sneeze hygiene, such as coughing into your elbow.
  • Follow all State and CDC guidelines and recommendations for environmental cleaning.
  • Prohibit visitors inside worksites unless they are providing essential services.

Employers must stress to employees that they are not to come to work when they are sick. We recognize that is a difficult ask – especially for small businesses – and for employees whose paychecks depend on every hour that they do work. But limiting public interactions of those who are sick is an important mitigation strategy to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Delaware.

This is a rapidly evolving situation in Delaware, in the U.S., and across the world. Recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are subject to frequent change.

Essential Services Screening Recommendations for COVID-19 Pandemic

To help protect the public against the spread of COVID-19, Governor John Carney and Delaware Division of Public Health Director Karyl T. Rattay, MD, MS, are requiring high-risk businesses, and strongly recommending that all employers, screen employees each day before work using the below Policy.

What Employers Can Urge Employees to Do to Minimize the Spread of Illness

In addition to encouraging Delawareans to get their flu shot, the Division of Public Health recommends these everyday measures to prevent the spread of all germs. This helps limit the spread of COVID-19.

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. If you use a tissue, dispose of it right away.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, including the backs of your hands and under your nails. If you do not have access to soap and water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) until you can wash your hands.
  • Do not touch your face, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces at work, home or school.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid interactions with people who are well.
  • If you have an underlying chronic medical condition, consult with a health care provider about further steps you can take to protect yourself and others.

Recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever AND cough or shortness of breath.

  • Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms (like the common cold) to people becoming severely ill and dying.
  • Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Reference Links

Delaware State Chamber of Commerce (DSCC)

Non-Essential Business Closure

Food Establishments

Child Care

Small Business Assistance

Unemployment Assistance


General Information

CDC Guidance for Businesses



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