Over the last week, 18 states, including New York and California, placed a “shelter in place” policy for millions of residents to avoid spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus. With the pandemic gripping the globe, in-house counsel are trying to find ways to keep business operations afloat, and one question that’s been coming up is whether a company is an “essential business.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security through its Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency released an order identifying an essential business as part of the “critical infrastructure industry,” as in providing health care services, pharmaceutical needs and food supply.