Arrow-right Camera
Subscribe now


What jobs are essential in Washington under Gov. Jay Inslee’s ‘Stay Home Stay Healthy’ order? Here’s the list.

From staff reports

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a sweeping order on Monday that forces the closure of numerous businesses and halts many activities in hopes of slowing the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are, however, a significant number of exceptions to the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Inslee designated the following list of business and activities that can continue operations despite the order.


• Workers providing COVID-19 testing and workers that perform critical clinical research and development needed for COVID-19 response.

• Health care providers and caregivers (e.g., physicians, dentists, psychologists, mid-level practitioners, nurses and assistants, infection control and quality assurance personnel, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and assistants, midwives and doulas attending facility-based or home-based births, alternative health care providers, social workers, speech pathologists and diagnostic and therapeutic technicians and technologists).

• Hospital and laboratory personnel (including accounting, administrative, admitting and discharge, engineering, epidemiological, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, information technology and operational technology, nutritionists, sanitarians, respiratory therapists, etc.).

• Workers in other medical facilities (including ambulatory health and surgical, blood banks, clinics, community mental health, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation, end stage renal disease, health departments, home health care, hospices, hospitals, long term care, organ pharmacies, procurement organizations, psychiatric, residential, rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers, biotechnology therapies, consumer health products, cannabis retailers).

• Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of medical equipment, medical devices, diagnostics, personal protective equipment, medical gases, pharmaceuticals, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies, and tissue and paper towel products.

• Public health / community health workers, including those who compile, model, analyze and communicate public health information.

• Behavioral health workers (including mental and substance use disorder) responsible for coordination, outreach, engagement, and treatment to individuals in need of mental health and/or substance use disorder services.

• Blood and plasma donors and the employees of the organizations that operate and manage related activities.

• Workers that manage health plans, billing, and health information, who cannot practically work remotely.

• Workers who conduct community-based public health functions, conducting epidemiologic surveillance, compiling, analyzing and communicating public health information, who cannot practically work remotely.

• Workers who provide support to vulnerable populations to ensure their health and well-being including family care providers

• Workers performing cybersecurity functions at health care and public health facilities, who cannot practically work remotely.

• Workers conducting research critical to COVID-19 response.

• Workers performing security, incident management, and emergency operations functions at or on behalf of health care entities including health care coalitions, who cannot practically work remotely.

• Workers who support food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, such as those residing in shelters.

• Pharmacy employees necessary for filling prescriptions.

• Workers performing mortuary services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemetery workers.

• Workers who coordinate with other organizations to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification, transportation, tracking, storage, and disposal of human remains and personal effects; certify cause of death; and facilitate access to behavioral health services to the family members, responders, and survivors of an incident.

• Workers supporting veterinary hospitals and clinics


Law Enforcement, Public Safety and First Responders

• Including front line and management, personnel include emergency management, law enforcement Emergency Management Systems, fire, and corrections, search and rescue, tactical teams including maritime, aviation, and canine units.

• Military personnel, including National Guard personnel and Coast Guard personnel

• Emergency Medical Technicians

• Public Safety Answering Points and 911 call center employees

• Fusion center employees

• Fire mitigation activities

• Hazardous material responders and hazardous devices teams, from government and the private sector.

• Workers – including contracted vendors — who maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting law enforcement and emergency service operations.

• Private security, private fire departments, and private emergency medical services personnel.

• Protective services workers responsible for mission critical functions in state institutions, programs, and community facilities, including homeless shelters.

Public works

• Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential dams, locks and levees

• Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations, including bridges, water and sewer main breaks, fleet maintenance personnel, construction of critical or strategic infrastructure, traffic signal maintenance, emergency location services for buried utilities, maintenance of digital systems infrastructure supporting public works operations, and other emergent issues

• Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.

• Support, such as road and line clearing, to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications. Support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste.


• Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, and other retail that sells food and beverage products, including but not limited to grocery stores, Corner stores and convenience stores, including liquor stores that sell food, farmers’ markets, food banks, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, similar food retail establishments, Big box stores that sell groceries and essentials.

• Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations – including food preparation, carry-out and delivery food employees

• Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees – to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; shellfish facilities including hatcheries and nurseries and growing areas; brewery and wine-making facilities; coffee production facilities; artisan food production; and the production of food packaging

• Farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically

• Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs

• Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution (including curbside distribution and deliveries), including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers, blockchain managers, distribution

• Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail

• Company cafeterias – in-plant cafeterias used to feed employees

• Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education

• Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments

• Workers supporting cannabis retail and dietary supplement retail

• Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids

• Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc.; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce

• Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products

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


Electricity industry

• Workers who maintain, ensure, or restore the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power, including call centers, utility workers, reliability engineers and fleet maintenance technicians

• Workers needed for hydroelectric, biofuels, biogas, geothermal energy, wind, biomass, solar and coal energy generation.

• Workers who maintain emergency management, risk management, safety and security, and business continuity at all energy generation, transmission, distribution, delivery, production, processing or refining facilities that provide critical community services to Washington state.

• Workers needed for safe and secure operations at nuclear generation

• Workers at generation, transmission, and electric blackstart facilities

• Workers at Reliability Coordinator, Balancing Authorities, and primary and backup Control Centers, including but not limited to independent system operators, regional transmission organizations, and balancing authorities

• Mutual assistance personnel

• IT and OT technology staff – for Energy Management System and Supervisory Control and Data

• Acquisition (SCADA) systems, and utility data centers; cybersecurity engineers; cybersecurity risk management

• Vegetation management crews and traffic workers who support

• Environmental remediation/monitoring technicians

• Instrumentation, protection, and control technicians

Petroleum workers

• Petroleum product storage, pipeline, marine transport, terminals, rail transport, road transport

• Crude oil storage facilities, pipeline, and marine transport

• Petroleum refinery facilities

• Petroleum security operations center employees and workers who support emergency response services

• Petroleum operations control rooms/centers

• Petroleum drilling, extraction, production, processing, refining, terminal operations, transporting, and retail for use as end-use fuels or feedstocks for chemical manufacturing

• Onshore and offshore operations for maintenance and emergency response

• Retail fuel centers such as gas stations and truck stops, and the distribution systems that support them.

Natural and propane gas workers

• Natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines, including compressor stations

• Underground storage of natural gas

• Natural gas processing plants, and those that deal with natural gas liquids

• Liquefied natural gas facilities

• Natural gas security operations center, natural gas operations dispatch and control rooms/centers natural gas emergency response and customer emergencies, including natural gas leak calls

• Drilling, production, processing, refining, and transporting natural gas for use as end-use fuels, feedstocks for chemical manufacturing, or use in electricity generation

• Propane gas dispatch and control rooms and emergency response and customer emergencies, including propane leak calls

• Propane gas service maintenance and restoration, including call centers

• Processing, refining, and transporting natural liquids, including propane gas, for use as end-use fuels or feedstocks for chemical manufacturing

• Propane gas storage, transmission, and distribution centers


Employees needed to operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure, including:

• Operational staff at water authorities

• Operational staff at community water systems

• Operational staff at wastewater treatment facilities

• Workers repairing water and wastewater conveyances and performing required sampling or monitoring

• Operational staff for water distribution and testing

• Operational staff at wastewater collection facilities

• Operational staff and technical support for SCADA Control systems

• Chemical disinfectant suppliers for wastewater and personnel protection

• Workers that maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting water and wastewater operations


• Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, workers engaged in snow removal and avalanche control for state highways, and workers that maintain and inspect infrastructure (including those that require cross-border travel)

• Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging, and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.

• Mass transit workers

• Ferry workers

• Taxis, transportation services including transportation network companies, and delivery services including delivery network companies

• Workers responsible for operating dispatching passenger, commuter and freight trains and maintaining rail infrastructure and equipment

• Maritime transportation workers – port workers, pilots, longshoremen, mariners, equipment operators, ship and vessel operators, crane operators, and shipyard foremen/women, marina workers.

• Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions, and services

• Automotive, motorcycle, bicycle and motorized wheelchair/scooter repair and maintenance facilities

• Manufacturers and distributors (to include service centers and related operations) of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations

• Postal and shipping workers, to include private 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

• Air transportation employees, including air traffic controllers, ramp personnel, aviation security, and aviation management

• Workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo by air transportation, including flight crews, maintenance, airport operations, and other on- and off- airport facilities workers



• Maintenance of communications infrastructure- including privately owned and maintained communication systems- supported by technicians, operators, call centers, wireline and wireless providers, cable service providers, satellite operations, undersea cable landing stations, Internet Exchange Points, and manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment

• Workers who support radio, television, newspapers and media service, including, but not limited to front line news reporters, studio, and technicians for newsgathering and reporting, and workers involved in the printing and distribution of newspapers.

• Workers at Independent system operators and regional transmission organizations, and network operations staff, engineers and/or technicians to manage the network or operate facilities

• Engineers, technicians and associated personnel responsible for infrastructure construction and restoration, including contractors for construction and engineering of fiber optic cables

• Installation, maintenance and repair technicians that establish, support or repair service as needed

• Central office personnel to maintain and operate central office, data centers, and other network office facilities

• Customer service and support staff, including managed and professional services as well as remote providers of support to transitioning employees to set up and maintain home offices, who interface with customers to manage or support service environments and security issues, including payroll, billing, fraud, and troubleshooting

• Dispatchers involved with service repair and restoration

Information Technology

• Workers who support command centers, including, but not limited to network operations command center, broadcast operations control center, and security operations command center

• Data center operators, including system administrators, HVAC and electrical engineers, security personnel, IT managers, data transfer solutions engineers, software and hardware engineers, and database administrators

• Client service centers, field engineers, and other technicians supporting critical infrastructure, as well as manufacturers and supply chain vendors that provide hardware and software, and information technology equipment (to include microelectronics and semiconductors) for critical infrastructure

• Workers responding to cyber incidents involving critical infrastructure, including medical facilities, SLTT governments and federal facilities, energy and utilities, and banks and financial institutions, and other critical infrastructure categories and personnel

• Workers supporting the provision of essential global, national and local infrastructure for computing services (including cloud computing services), business infrastructure, web-based services, and critical manufacturing

• Workers supporting communications systems and information technology used by law enforcement, public safety, medical, energy and other critical industries

• Support required for continuity of services, including janitorial and cleaning personnel


• Critical government workers, including the governor’s office, as defined by the employer and consistent with continuity of operations plans, and continuity of government plans.

• State and county workers responsible for determining eligibility for safety net benefits

• Workers responsible for facilitating return to work resources.

• The courts, consistent with direction from the Washington state chief justice

• Workers to ensure continuity of building functions

• Security staff to maintain building access control and physical security measures

• Elections personnel

• Federal, state, and local, tribal, and territorial employees who support mission essential functions and communications networks

• Trade officials (FTA negotiators; international data flow administrators)

• Weather forecasters

• Workers that maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting other critical government operations

• Workers at operations centers necessary to maintain other essential functions

• Workers who support necessary credentialing, vetting and licensing operations for transportation workers

• Workers who are critical to facilitating trade in support of the national, state, and local emergency response supply chain

• Workers supporting public and private childcare establishments, licensed pre-K establishments, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of distance learning, or the provision of school meals, or child care for the children of essential workers across all sectors and for uniquely vulnerable children.

• Hotel workers.

• Construction workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction) for all essential facilities, services and projects included in this document, and for residential construction related to emergency repairs and projects that ensure structural integrity.

• Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of construction sites and construction projects (including those that support such projects to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications; and support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste)

• Commercial retail stores, that supply essential sectors, including convenience stores, pet supply stores, auto supplies and repair, hardware and home improvement, garden stores and nurseries that support food cultivation and production, office supply stores that support working-from home, and home appliance retailers

• Workers providing care to animals in zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, nature preserves and game farms.

• Workers critical to operating rental car companies that facilitate continuity of operations for essential workforces, and other essential travel

• Workers who provide or determine eligibility for food, shelter, in-home supportive services, child welfare, adult protective services and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals (including family members and individuals experiencing homelessness)

• Professional services, such as legal or accounting and tax preparation services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities and critical sector services

• Artists and musicians providing services through streaming or other technology

• Unions and worker advocacy organizations

• Workers providing, maintaining and repairing heating, cooling and refrigeration services.

• Professional employer organizations providing payroll benefits, regulatory assistance and HR services.

• Laundromats and laundry services


.• Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and the defense industrial base.


• Workers at nuclear facilities, workers managing medical waste, workers managing waste from pharmaceuticals and medical material production, and workers at laboratories processing test kits

• Workers who support hazardous materials response and cleanup

• Workers who maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting hazardous materials management operations


• Workers who are needed to process and maintain systems for processing financial transactions and services (e.g., payment, clearing, and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; and capital markets activities)

• Workers who are needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and to move currency and payments (e.g., armored cash carriers)

• Workers who support financial operations, such as those staffing data and security operations centers


• Workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including workers at chemical manufacturing plants, workers in laboratories, workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods, including hand sanitizers, food and food additives, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and paper products.

• Workers supporting the safe transportation of chemicals, including those supporting tank truck cleaning facilities and workers who manufacture packaging items

• Workers supporting the production of protective cleaning and medical solutions, personal protective equipment, and packaging that prevents the contamination of food, water, medicine, among others essential products

• Workers supporting the operation and maintenance of facilities (particularly those with high risk chemicals and/ or sites that cannot be shut down) whose work cannot be done remotely and requires the presence of highly trained personnel to ensure safe operations, including plant contract workers who provide inspections

• Workers who support the production and transportation of chlorine and alkali manufacturing, single-use plastics, and packaging that prevents the contamination or supports the continued manufacture of food, water, medicine, and other essential products, including glass container manufacturing


• Workers who support the essential services required to meet national security commitments to the federal government and U.S. Military. These individuals, include but are not limited to aerospace; mechanical and software engineers, manufacturing and production workers; IT support; security staff; security personnel; intelligence support, aircraft and weapon system mechanics and maintainers

• Personnel working for companies, and their subcontractors, who perform under contract to the Department of Defense providing materials and services to the Department of Defense, and government-owned/contractor-operated and government-owned/government-operated facilities

To clarify status, or to petition to be added to this list, please visit the Washington State Business ReEntry Registration website at: re-entry-registration.