Business Closures: Essential vs. Non-Essential?

Boating Industry letter on marina and boat service essentiality 

Suggested sources of information
Face Masks, Temperatures and other 50-state issues  (Fisher Phillips)

What is considered essential business?

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released guidance on March 28 detailing which workers could be considered essential critical infrastructure workers by state and local governments.
Many states are using the CISA guidlines, some are modifying the guidelines, while others are issuing guidelines independent of the CISA recommendations.

(You can find a full library of Stay-At-Home orders here)

What CISA guidelines could state and local governments use to include marinas and boatyards as critical infrastructure?

(Find CISA guidelines here)

Listed under transportation and logistics

  • Maritime transportation workers, including dredgers, port workers, mariners, ship crewmembers, ship pilots and tug boat operators, equipment operators (to include maintenance and repair, and maritime-specific medical providers), ship supply, chandler, and repair companies.
  • Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers

Listed under Agriculture

  • Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution

What classifications are other states using to modify essential business guidelines to keep marinas and boatyards open?

  • Provide critical infrastructure (dockage) to Harbor Masters and other law enforcement
  • Provide critical infrastructure (dockage) to fire prevention vessels
  • Provide critical infrastructure (dockage) to USCG vessels
  • Support fishing or aquaculture industries, including maintenance and repair of vessels
  • Support employees needed to operate pumpout services as critical to waste treatment

Specifics from local MTAs

Massachusetts – businesses that support essential employees in the “fishing and seafood industry” and provide dockage to harbormasters, fire prevention vessels, USCG vessels, and other first responders, or employees needed to operate pumpout stations or drinking water services.

New Jersey – Executive Order #107 does not preclude marinas from continuing operating as long as they practice social distancing recommendations.  Marina customers can access their boats and are permitted to repair/maintenance if permitted by the marina as long as individuals practice social distancing.  Imperative to ensure social distancing for anyone that accesses your facility, including staff.

Connecticut – Marinas and marine repair and service are considered essential services

Wisconsin – marinas, boat supply/repair, and sales are essential businesses and can continue to operate. Marinas - page 6; boats - page 12

Rhode Island - Marinas, boatyards, and yacht clubs can operate under certain guidelines

Minnesota - Clarification added on April 13
  • Workers necessary for the operation of safe harbors and marinas to provide refuge for boaters when conditions making boating on open water unsafe and operations related to safety services such as fuel, emergency dockage and sanitary pump-out stations (Pg 9)
  • Workers providing boat transportation services (Pg 9)
  • Workers who install and support the installation of docks, boat lifts, and other water-related equipment and boat delivery. (Pg 17)

AMI Affiliate State Business Closure Orders 

Other resources:

If you have any questions or concerns about local restrictions in your area, please contact Eric Kretsch at