Business operators are directed to use guidelines to self-assess operations to determine if they are essential.

The City of Richardson has received several calls asking for clarification on how businesses are to determine if they are “essential” or not in relation to emergency closure orders that are set to go into effect this evening at 11:59 p.m. The orders are part of a Declaration of Disaster for a Local Health Emergency approved by the City Council Monday, March 23, 2020. The declaration includes orders for sheltering in place as well as the closing for all business operation not considered to be “essential.”

While definitions are provided below, businesses are required to make a self determination following the guidelines below.

***This list is not all inclusive but is intended to provide guidance on what may remain open.***

Allowed to Stay Open
Below is a list of the “essential businesses” in Richardson that can continue operations under Richardson’s adopted Declaration of Disaster for a Local Health Emergency. Employees of essential businesses are still encouraged to practice social distancing, maintaining at least 6 feet between people in public areas, workplaces and residences.


  • Blood banks
  • Clinics
  • Dentists
  • Health care suppliers
  • Hospitals
  • In-home health care for seniors, adults or children
  • Medical research facilities
  • Mental health providers
  • Laboratory services
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmaceutical and bio­technology companies
  • Substance-abuse service providers
  • Veterinary care for animals


  • Government functions needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies are broadly included.


  • Airport operations
  • Oil refining
  • Public transportation (including DART rail and buses)
  • Public works construction
  • Residential and commercial construction
  • Road and highway work
  • Water, sewer, gas and elec­trical businesses


  • Any business that supplies products needed for people to work remotely during the pandemic
  • Automotive suppliers as well as auto and bicycle repair services
  • Big-box stores
  • Bodegas
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries directly to homes
  • Farmers markets that sell food products and household staples
  • Gas stations and convenience stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers
  • Liquor stores
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food are only permitted to remain open for delivery or carryout services
  • Warehouse stores



  • Building cleaning and maintenance
  • Businesses that provide social services and services necessary to life for the eco­nomically disadvantaged
  • Childcare facilities that provide services to employees of businesses included in this list.
  • Funeral homes, crematori­ums and cemeteries
  • Mail and shipping services
  • News media
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators and other services necessary for main­taining the safety, sanitation and operations of residences and businesses included in this list
  • Professional services such as legal and accounting ser­vices for businesses included in this list
  • Ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft and delivery drivers are also essential services, according to a tweet from Judge Jenkins on Monday.
  • Storage services for es­sential businesses included in this list
  • Trash and recycling collec­tion, processing and disposal
  • Warehouse, distribution and fulfillment services

Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof. 

Visit for further clarification.

Why Actions are Being Taken
Efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 are focused on “flattening the curve,” or slowing the spread of the virus so that medical facilities are not overwhelmed. To do this, people are asked to practice social distancing and proper hygiene.

  • Social distancing means:
    • Maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others,
    • Avoiding congregating with other people,
    • Avoiding unnecessary physical contact.
  • Proper hygiene includes:
    • Not touching your face,
    • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue,
    • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
    • If soap and water are not available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

The declaration is effective until April 30, 2020 or unless superseded, canceled, modified, amended or terminated by the Mayor and/or the City Council.

(All updates can be found on the City of Richardson’s COVID-19 news page at