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| 1 minute read

Animal Care Deemed “Essential” During COVID-19 Crisis

New Interim Guidance on Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders 202.6, and 202.8 is now clear. Animal care I n New York, including veterinary services, pet food, pharmacy retail and manufacture, as well as animal agriculture and shelters, are all ”Essential Services” and exempt from the directive that they close effective 8 p.m. March 22nd.

Executive Order 202.6 described only “emergency veterinary and agricultural” services as essential and listed only “animal shelters and animal care” as exempt, causing confusion, and prompting many veterinarians in New York to close their doors at first to all but emergency appointments.

After the initial Order, but before the Interim Guidance was issued, New York State Department of Economic Development d/b/a Empire State Development (ESD) the office responsible to make exception determinations that businesses are permitted to operate as essential, issued a denial to a pet grooming/doggy daycare business, stating it was not essential. Now, it appears those early decisions may be in some doubt.

The new Guidance referring to all “animal care“ businesses as essential does not specifically except pet grooming or pet daycare. It would seem logical that pet hygiene and pet care, especially for first responders and health care workers on the job, would be essential but those operating would be prudent to seek clarification from ESD.

Veterinary clinics and shelters, as well as pet supply retailers and other animal care businesses that are clearly identified by the Guidance as essential, must still follow the remainder of the social distancing and cleaning mandates of the Governor, including cleaning and disinfecting, and limiting ingress and egress of patrons as much as possible.

In the case of veterinary offices, for the safety of their staff, many are choosing to allow only the animals to enter, while pet owners wait in their cars, and speak to the vet over the phone during the visit.

Area animal shelters and pet adoption organizations are seeing a huge demand right now, as people at home welcome the fun and companionship of cats, dogs and other household pets. 

”Animal care operations...have been deemed essential and are exempt under the Executive Orders [202.6 and 202.8].”