With counties across Texas coming up with their own individual orders trying to keep their populations at home and not spreading the new coronavirus, there’s a lot of confusion about who is actually allowed to go to work.
For instance, Collin County today issued an order saying “all businesses, jobs and works are essential."
Other counties, however, at least have attempted to designate some businesses and industries as more important than others during this crisis.
Most counties are using a list compiled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to determine who should be allowed to work during these lockdowns, and who is not.
It’s surprisingly long, with 16 different types of industries listed. Because there’s no statewide order to shelter in place or stay at home, local officials are making their own lists.
Most include the same types of workers and industries. For instance, all local orders include police, firefighters, grocery stores and healthcare workers as essential services and businesses.
But the lists also include a lot of businesses and functions you wouldn’t necessarily expect. For instance, residential and commercial construction are on the Dallas, Tarrant and Denton county orders.
Here’s just a few of the other industries that the federal government recommends be exempt from these “stay at home” orders:
- food and agriculture
- water and wastewater
- transportation and logistics
- public works
- critical manufacturing
- hazardous materials
- financial services
- and the defense industry
Under each of these headings are dozens of specific jobs and industries.
And there’s an “other” category, including elections personnel; educators facilitating distance learning; IT professionals supporting critical systems; security staff for critical infrastructure; and on and on and on.
The media is also deemed essential. And weather forecasters (yes, they have their own heading).
For a complete list of which industries are deemed “essential” in your county, pull up that county’s order and it should be listed in there. If you still have a question about who is allowed to work and who isn’t, contact your local county judge’s office.