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Friday, March 5, 2021

“Essential” Businesses Want Customers to Know they are Open

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Union Park and other auto dealers have been deemed “essential businesses”

When Governor John Carney ordered the closure of “non-essential” Delaware businesses, there were understandably questions around how and why certain businesses made the cut.

There was also some confusion among the public about who was still open and providing services.

The governor’s update to his state of emergency declaration to curb the spread of the coronavirus included a comprehensive list of businesses and their designations (found here). 

By now most Delawareans are aware that businesses including grocery and liquor stores, gas stations and restaurants serving food to go or for pick up made the list.

Yet there are other businesses that want to be sure people know they are still open – albeit with some restrictions.

In the case of auto dealerships, the governor’s initial order limited sales and leasing delivery – customers were not allowed in showrooms.  Late last week that order was modified and auto dealers like Jim Ursomarso at Union Park want customers to know that his Honda, Buick, Volvo and BMW sales teams are now able to meet – at a safe distance – by appointment.

“Individuals who need a new or used car can come in by appointment and we can help them,” says Ursomarso.

“We appreciate the Governor’s updated directive recognizing that Delawareans need safe and reliable automobiles,” said Ursomarso. “If we can deliver the vehicle to the customer’s home, we should still do it rather than have the customer come in.”

 

Ursomarso says dealers must be extremely careful to continue constant cleaning and wiping down showrooms, touchpoints and vehicles.  He said most dealerships will be splitting staff into two shifts, working alternate days, and many will reduce hours of operation.

“We are operating with fewer staff and with slightly reduced hours, other than at our collision center which remains at full hours and full staff.  The collision repair business has actually increased over the last few days.”

Union Park’s Collision Center continues to be busy as workers and first responders need vehicles for essential jobs

Carney’s first restrictions on businesses listed auto repair and auto collision repair as essential services, as most essential workers and services – EMS employees getting to work or families accessing the grocery store – require a functioning car.

Public Golf Course are Still Open

Public golf courses remain open, with their own safety restrictions – for example, sand trap rakes and ball washers have been removed. Golf courses open to the public include White Clay Creek Country Club at Delaware Park, Rock ManorEd “Porky” Oliver and Delcastle.

 

White Clay Creek is mandating that all golfers tee off in 20 minute intervals and maintain six to eight feet of distance between each other.  Flag sticks are to be left in the cups and restrooms on the course are not in operation.  

Non-Delaware residents are not allowed to play golf on Delaware courses however, following Governor Carney’s directive that anyone entering the state must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Non-Essential Businesses Closed, But Some Still Serving Clients

While her Pure Barre fitness studio in Greenville is closed, Olivia Loncki has been running live video classes from her home or having other teachers instruct a class from their homes.  

 

“This way no one has to miss a beat,” said Annie Gallagher of Wilmington, an enthusiastic class-goer. “We get credit for each class but she is not charging.  She also creatively has found a way to sell the products in her store online by modeling the clothes.  It is fun to do the shopping.  She is truly amazing, creative and really cares about her clients and her crew.  She has taken this difficult situation and making is an outlet for all us Pure Barrers.”

Olivia Loncki has innovated to keep serving clients of her Greenville Pure Barre studio

From the State: Frequently Asked Questions About Essential Business Designation

Does the order require that I obtain any paperwork, either as an employer or an employee of an essential business, to clarify that status?

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.

My employer says our business is essential, do I still need to report to work?

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.

How do I determine if my business is designated as essential?

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.

 

What happens if my business fails to comply with the order, either regarding our status as essential or non-essential, or with following CDC guidelines?

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.

What if my business has multiple NAICS codes?

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.

Can I change my NAICS code to a code that is essential?

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.

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