Essential VS Non-Essential Businesses During COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a number of new phrases and concepts into our lexicon. We didn’t think much about social distancing before the coronavirus became a factor in our lives; in fact, many of us didn’t think that we’d ever really be affected by a quarantine, either. But one of the new ideas that has most affected our daily lives is that of the essential business versus the non-essential business. Depending on where you live, whether or not you work for an essential business could very well define whether you could leave your house to go to work, or alternately be furloughed or laid off. Business owners have made new stretches to attempt to have their businesses defined as essential, offering new services and products to try to keep the lights on. New business owners or people on the verge of launching a business, in particular, have been rethinking their original concepts of what their companies would be, trying to ensure that they are declared essential. Whereas once they could rely upon a business news update to guide their decisions, they’re now navigating a new world. Where someone who once made a lot of money off of their boutique is now shutting their doors, something as benign but practical as an elevator repair business can stay open.

There isn’t exactly a blanket definition for what makes a business essential, and what makes it non-essential. The definitions can vary from state to state. Some businesses have also been able to skirt around these restrictions and stay open; however, this is ill-advised as the government can impose punishments for businesses that remain open during quarantine when they shouldn’t. Although many states are beginning to reopen, the fact is that until a vaccine is released and the general population is made safe again, the country could very well go in and out of quarantine. Non-essential businesses may slip into something of a pattern of opening and closing, which can be difficult to predict and may have significant impacts on income. That’s why it’s important to understand, as you plan for the future, what jobs and industries aren’t essential. While many people remain in career fields that are essential and can count a steady income, a lot of people will have to rethink their futures, and either switch careers on at least a temporary basis or move towards working remotely. Below, let’s explore what businesses are and aren’t considered essential.

Essential: The Building Maintenance Industry

Regardless of what individual businesses open and close, different buildings must remain operational during the pandemic, whether they are commercial or residential. Therefore, the companies that maintain these buildings must remain operational in turn, and ready to maintain and repair issues within these structures. As many following business news updates may note, while some industries have tanked, others have remained steady. In a lot of ways, maintenance workers have become more valuable than ever, as crucial buildings like hospitals and nursing homes have required them to risk their health in order to ensure that they continue running smoothly. Electricians, in particular, are being called upon to ensure that hospitals maintain efficient power. Consider, for example, the implications of a nursing home losing powder during the pandemic. As people may spend as much as 11.5% of their lives living with disabilities, the last thing these often-packed facilities need is their residents going without electricity.

Plumbing services are still very much needed as well during the pandemic, and therefore plumbers continue working. As with any industry, individual business owners can decide whether or not to scale back their work or decline jobs if they’re worried about employee safety. A plumber is not required to enter a home wherein individuals have contracted COVID-19. As business news updates reiterate, essential businesses simply can remain open and operational. They are not required to as a general rule.

Many stores that offer home repair equipment are allowed to remain open, and therefore companies that specialize in installing that type of equipment are open as well. Fire sprinkler companies, by and large, can still remain open to install and repair their systems. A virus doesn’t have an effect on whether or not a home is at risk of fire damage, after all. Furthermore, these types of precautions are important to take during this crisis, as emergency personnel are already overloaded and under strain due to the pandemic.

However, not all home maintenance industries will necessarily be treated equally. For example, in stricter states companies that offer garage door repair services may not be allowed to operate as freely as the aforementioned fire safety companies. Many businesses in certain areas are or will be allowed to operate, but in a more restricted sense, with fewer employees in a single space at one time.

Non-Essential: The Travel Industry

It should come as no surprise that business news updates are reflecting troubling times ahead for the travel industry. Leisure travel was already considered a luxury by many prior to the pandemic due to the time and expense involved. Now that travel is not only dangerous but well out of the budget of many suffering from economic hardships, the industry is very much non-essential and may take quite some time to recover from the current impact.

With that being said, this doesn’t mean that all businesses related to travel are non-operational. Travel agencies and companies that had brick and mortar offices may not be allowed to keep those offices open. However, employees of most travel companies can work from home. Their duties may now focus less on sales and driving income, versus ensuring that customers with previously-held travel plans are safe and as satisfied as possible now that they can no longer travel. The industry can potentially look towards the future, but due to the fact that predictions are difficult to make at this time, it’s generally not advised through business news updates that new entrepreneurs move forward with their grand plans of building companies related to travel.

Of course, industry mainstays like airlines and hotels will always be necessary. People will need to travel, for work or perhaps for more urgent reasons. But keep in mind that many states are cautioning against travel, and indeed many countries have travel bans instated. It will be a good while before people begin traveling simply because they want to in massive quantities again.

Essential: Educational Institutions And Related Businesses

While it’s difficult to think of schools as businesses, exactly, as most are not-for-profit institutions, it’s important to remember that education is still very much essential. Therefore, while students and teachers may not be entering the classrooms anytime soon, a lot of businesses that aid them remain essential and must be available to assist them. This is one reason why you’ll notice that a lot of tech stores remain open during the pandemic. People do generally need their phones and computers to stay in touch with each other, and now more than ever to work. But the pandemic has also made technology a crucial part of the learning experience.

In fact, there is opportunity for new businesses to grow and aid schools as they shift to more remote learning practices. Observing business news updates, it’s clear that companies that offer teleconferencing have become essential for not only business owners attempting to maintain remote operations, but for teachers as well. It can be reasonably expected that companies offering these types of services have an opportunity to grow during the crisis, if they move forward wisely.

This can extend to other forms of e-learning. Students may not be able to necessarily go to the bookstore to pick up a textbook, as this is now non-essential. However, e-book providers now have a captive audience of not only those who read for pleasure, but those who must read for school. Due to slow shipping times of physical books due to the pandemic, e-texts may see a rise in popularity.

Non-Essential: Museums And Galleries

Right now, a lot of people would love nothing more than to wander a museum or gallery full of pieces and experiences that would transport them to another place. But it’s just not safe to do that at this time. Museums and galleries have never been the most lucrative business opportunities in general, as any reliable source of business news updates will tell you. In the pandemic, they also represent a potential opportunity for infection and transfer, which is why they have by and large been deemed non-essential.

Even childrens museums, which typically offer educational experiences to kids and parents alike, have been closed down in light of the pandemic. While some museums are funded by the government, others are privately owned and therefore depend on either private donations or the income generated by visitors. This means that they’re currently generating zero income, which can be particularly difficult for museums that house plants or living exhibits that need to be constantly maintained. The same, of course, can be said for zoos.

Fortunately, there are federal loans available for small businesses that are currently experiencing financial hardship. But these funds may not be enough for many of them to remain financially stable enough to reopen once the crisis passes. This is why there has been an influx of donation requests. While a lot of people cannot currently give large donations, museums that are lucky enough to catch the attention of a more sizable crowd have been able to build funds that will hopefully aid them in riding out the pandemic.

Essential: Financial Institutions

Anyone following business news updates will likely already be aware that banks have been able to stay open during the pandemic. This isn’t without significant changes, of course. Many banks that previously offered weekend hours are now closed throughout the weekend and are required to enforce social distancing between employees and clients, as well as the use of disinfectants and gloves. Although financial institutions will remain steadily open throughout the coronavirus crisis, a lot of people remain reluctant to apply to work within them. Money is touched by countless people, and therefore is an easy conduit for the virus. Ideally, the changes currently being implemented will prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it’s difficult to say how effective they will be until future results are analyzed.

Private money lenders may not be held to the same standards as major banks and credit unions. However, many private institutions have long been able to operate remotely, with clients often seeking their services over the phone or online. Smaller lenders with offices might experience something of a shift as they work remotely more than they once did. It’s no longer safe to operate out of an office, or even to handle as many physical documents through the mail as one did prior to the pandemic. But as new businesses seek out loans in an attempt to break out of the economic crisis set in motion by the pandemic, private money lenders may very well experience an influx of new business.

It’s difficult to predict what will happen economically after a vaccine is released and the pandemic subsides. But regardless of business news updates and certain stretches that may be attempted to justify certain companies as essential, people can generally name what is actually essential to their daily lives. They need to be able to work, and they need to be able to buy their groceries, as well as stay healthy both mentally and physically.

A lot of different factors play into people’s basics needs, which is why a surprising amount of businesses have been able to stay open during the crisis. Nonetheless, trends in business news updates indicate that now may not be the time to start or enter a business that offers something frivolous.

If you’re looking to get into an industry that will give you a reliable income throughout the pandemic, you’ll want to be practical. For example, if you can become trained as medical personnel, urgent care centers certainly need staff on hand. But conversely, it may not be the best time to start a hair salon.

This doesn’t mean that rising entrepreneurs should stop dreaming entirely, or only make decisions based off of the cold facts revealed in business news updates. It may simply mean that for the time being, you should structure your plans around what is essential and what is not.

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