What is an 'essential business'?

ST. JOE COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) Indiana’s stay-at-home order is starting to hit home.

Starting Tuesday, March 24, the business lobbies of the Bay County Board of County Commissioners and the Bay County public libraries will close to the public.(MGN)

In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus cases, only essential businesses can remain open.

Obviously hospitals, gas stations, and grocery stores are still open, but we found that laundromats and at least one carpet sweeper repair business also claimed to be essential businesses in the name of keeping things clean.

“There is quite a bit of leeway, frankly, in determining who’s essential, and with a business you can have an essential business that has employees that could be laid off. It’s a case by case situation, who has to remain working,” said South Bend Attorney Peter J. Agostino.

16 News Now also visited a glass business that kept the doors open because some of its work centered on automobiles, and the governor’s order exempts auto repairs.

Meantime a trade group says it’s imperative that RV businesses are classified as essential...

That may exempt RV workers from various stay-at-home orders.

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association declined our request for an interview but did provide a written statement.

The group feels that RV’s are “uniquely able” to serve as mobile medical units, testing facilities and command centers in this time of crisis.

“There are situations where RV manufacturers are making products that are being used for essential services, FEMA purposes. In that case I think you could argue that it is an essential service, but you have to keep in mind that even in that case you still have to comply with that six-foot distancing rule, and that does affect a manufacturer," Agostino said.

RVIA also wants RV campgrounds to remain open to provide temporary housing for traveling medical personnel on the front lines.

What are 'essential businesses' and 'essential travel'? Click here for much more information from the governors of Indiana and Michigan.