Who’s working, what businesses are open during stay-at-home order

SEATTLE — If you’re wondering what businesses can stay open after Gov. Jay Inslee issued a stay-at-home order Monday, you’re not alone.

The list is long and complicated, but we’ve broken it down to some basics, with the full list from the governor’s office here.

Businesses that are working remotely can continue to do so.

Here’s a quick list of some essential businesses still operating:

  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants offering takeout or delivery
  • Convenience and corner stores
  • Food banks
  • Farm and produce stands
  • Banks
  • Pet supply
  • Auto supply and repair
  • Home improvement and hardware
  • Garden stores and nurseries
  • Office supply stores

If you are looking for something else, there are many other essential businesses, as defined by the executive order, that are allowed to remain open. We’ve broken down the primary ones below, but see the full list for detailed explanations. All non-essential businesses will have to close on Wednesday.

The governor’s office released a list of business sectors that are considered essential. Inslee he said he used federal guidelines to compile the list.

Community-based government operations and essential functions

-Hotel workers

-Construction workers for essential facilities, including housing, and residential construction related to emergency repairs

-Plumbers, electricians, exterminators

-Commercial retail stores such as pet supply, auto supplies and repair, home improvement and hardware, garden stores and nurseries, office supply stores and home appliance stores

-Rental car companies

-Laundromats and laundry services

-Critical government workers including the governor’s office

- State and county workers responsible for determining eligibility for safety net benefits

-Weather forecasters

-Workers supporting public and private childcare establishments, schools colleges and universities

-Child care for the children of essential workers across all sectors and for uniquely vulnerable children

-Elections personnel

Health care

Includes hospitals, healthcare facilities, research centers, suppliers and manufacturers

-Health care providers and practitioners such as doctors, dentists, psychologists, nurses and assistants, physical therapists, pharmacists and more

-Hospital and lab workers, including administrative staff

-Workers in other medical facilities such as blood banks, clinics, mental health, long term care, hospice facilities, outpatient rehab, consumer health products, cannabis retailers and others

-Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, distributors of medical devices, equipment, pharmecuticals, testing materials, lab supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies, and tissue and paper towel products, and others

-Workers who conduct community-based healthcare functions such as those who work in homeless shelters and family care providers

-Veterinary clinics

-Mortuary services and funeral homes

Emergency services

Includes police departments, sheriff’s offices, fire departments, Department of Defense police and public works departments

-Police, firefighters, private security, emergency dispatchers

-Military personnel, including National Guard and Coast Guard

-Emergency medical technicians

-Search and rescue

-Public works employees

-Plumbers, electricians, exterminators and other private businesses that maintain homes

-Sanitation workers

Food and agriculture

Including businesses related to the production, processing and delivery of food.

-Grocery, pharmacy, corner and convenience stores, liquor stories that sell food, farmer’s markets, food banks, produce stands, retail stores that sell food, big box stores

-Restaurant carry-out, delivery and quick serve food operations

-Food manufacturers and processers, livestock, poultry and seafood facilities

-Farm workers and agricultural companies

-Food and beverage distributors

-Forest product workers including timber, paper and other wood products

-Cannabis stores


Including the production of electricity, oil and natural gas, the supply of fuel the transportation industry, and power to homes and businesses.

-Workers who maintain or restore power and utilities, including nuclear plant workers

-Vegetation management and traffic workers who support

-Gas stations and truck stops

-Water and wastewater facilities

Transportation and logistics

Including aviation, commercial vehicles, public transportation, highways, waterways and postal service.

-Postal and shipping

-Ferries, mass transit, rail and taxis

-Truck drivers

-Automotive, motorcycle and motorized wheelchair/scooter repair and maintenance facilities

-Airports and workers such as air traffic controllers, aviation security

-Maintenance workers

Communication and information technology

Including phone, internet, cable, cyber infrastructure and products and services.

-Media and the workers who support it

-Maintenance and repair technicians

-Customer service and support staff

-Cyber security workers

-Workers supporting communication systems and information technology

Critical manufacturing

Includes manufacturing of metals, machinery, electrical equipment, appliances and transportation equipment

-Workers needed for the manufacturing of medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemicial manufacturing, nuclear facilties, dam operations

Financial services

-Banks, credit unions, ATMs

-Workers who maintain systems for processing financial transactions

-Armored car drivers

-Workers who support financial operations

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