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Executive Order 202.6: Governor Cuomo Issues a 50% Reduction in In-Person Workforce

Last night, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.6 ordering non-essential businesses to reduce their in-person workforce by 50% effective at 8pm on March 20, 2020. This Executive Order is in place through April 17, 2020.


Executive Order 202.6 is part of the State of New York’s continuing response to the Coronavirus. It is part of the string of executive orders issued pursuant to Executive Order Number 202, issued on March 7, 2020, whereby Governor Cuomo declared a State disaster emergency.

Executive Order 202.6 also suspends other parts of New York State law, to permit better response efforts to the Coronavirus. Those additional items include:

  • Changes to the Public Officers law to hire, engage, accept volunteers or contributions from business and individuals in dealing with the declared emergency;

  • Changes to the Legislative Law to permit the acceptance of donations made to the State in response to the declared emergency; and,

  • Changes to the New York State Finance Law that may be necessary to allow the State to respond to the declared emergency.

For most employers though, the main issue will be understanding how to comply with the 50% reduction in in-person workforce requirement for “non-essential” businesses. Essential business, excluded from this order, include:

  • Essential health care operations

  • Includes research and lab services

  • Essential infrastructure

  • Utilities

  • Telecommunications

  • Airports

  • Transportation infrastructure

  • Essential manufacturing

  • Food processing

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Essential retail

  • Grocery stores

  • Pharmacies

  • Essential services

  • Trash collection

  • Mail

  • Shipping services

  • News media

  • Banks and related financial institutions

  • Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations

  • Construction

  • Vendors of essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses

  • Vendors that provide essential services of products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public

Businesses that are unsure of their qualification under these guidelines, or which deem themselves essential but are not listed, may request an opinion that they are essential from the Empire State Development Corporation.


Additionally, by 5pm today the Empire State Development Corporation is to issue additional guidance regarding which businesses are essential and not subject to the 50% workforce rule.


For assistance with policies on how to effectuate the workforce rule, appeals to the Empire State Development Corporation and continuing updates on this issue, please contact one of the attorneys here at the Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow. We too are addressing this situation as a non-essential business and have already started to comply with the Executive Order. Through our practical experience, we can help assist you and your business.

This Legal Briefing is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or counsel. The substance of this Legal Briefing is not intended to cover all legal issues or developments regarding the matter. Please consult with an attorney to ascertain how these new developments may relate to you or your business. © 2020 Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow PLLC

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