COVID-19 Affecting New York State Businesses

Yesterday, at a press conference, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed a pending Executive Order that would mandate businesses to reduce their workforce by 75%, primarily by requiring employees who can work from home to do so. This created a number of calls to our office regarding its application to our industry. As we are all aware, printing remains essentially a manufacturing industry and while some employees can successfully work from home, most cannot and still maintain production.
Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order (No. 202.6) mandates a 75% reduction in the workforce of private and not-for-profit entities. This requirement cuts across all departments and shifts of a company and mandates that, by 8 PM on March 20, 2020 only 25% of the total number of employees reporting to a site be allowed to work. However, the Order notes that “essential business or entity providing essential services or functions shall not be subject to the in-person restrictions.”

The Order lists the following businesses as qualifying:
“… essential health care operations including research and laboratory services; essential infrastructure including utilities, telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure; essential manufacturing, including food processing and pharmaceuticals; essential retail including grocery stores and pharmacies; essential services including trash collection, mail, and 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 or 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….”

We believe based on the final wording of the Executive Order and the commentary we have seen that printing would qualify as an exempt business although it is not expressly exempted in the Governor’s order. To name just a few, the following are products and services that are critical to our economy and citizens:

Printing of packaging (pharmaceuticals, food, beverages, etc.)
Mailing as an integrated operation of printing
Communications, especially to the elderly, vulnerable population, who do not have regular internet access
Printing to support the distribution of banking and financial information
Printing in support of elections and civic undertakings
Printing to support businesses who are required to inform clients of certain actions in a limited time frame
Signage to alert the public to important announcements and changes
Printing to support the marketing efforts of struggling companies as well as advising consumers where products can be obtained is essential.

Let us know what your company is doing that you feel is critical to this effort

Formal Exemptions are available

The Order notes that:
“Any other business may be deemed essential after requesting an opinion from the Empire State Development Corporation, which shall review and grant such request, should it determine that it is in the best interest of the state to have the workforce continue at full capacity in order to properly respond to this disaster. No later than 5 p.m. on March 19, 2020, Empire State Development Corporation shall issue guidance as to which businesses are determined to be essential.”

We are preparing a request for exemption on behalf of the NYS print community which will be submitted later today.

Businesses who may feel they qualify as “essential” should immediately request consideration of their exemption from the Empire State Development Corporation.
You can obtain additional information from:

Governor Andrew Cuomo website at https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2026-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency

Empire State Development Corporation at https://esd.ny.gov/novel-coronavirus-faq-businesses.

Please feel free to contact Tim Freeman at:
tfreeman@pialliance.org
716-691-3211 (office)
716-983-3826 (cell) for assistance

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