Updated April 28th, 2020

Can I Stay Open? – Impact of Closure and Shelter-in-Place Orders on Jewelry Businesses

With the nation hit by the COVID-19 crisis, many jewelry businesses are asking us: “Can I stay open?” For businesses in several states and cities (especially brick-and-mortars), the answer is likely no and the number of states where this answer applies is sure to increase in the near future.

The legal landscape around COVID-19 business closures and shelter-in-place orders is rapidly evolving. To date, there are no binding federal requirements on this topic, so we must consult state and local orders:

Several states and cities have promulgated state-wide and city-wide “stay-at-home;” “PAUSE,” or other broad closure orders. In a nutshell, these orders require closure of all businesses except for those designated as “essential.” The “essential business” designation is limited to businesses that provide essential services or functions, such as healthcare, food service, law enforcement, and similar critical services such as banking or transportation. Unfortunately, jewelry businesses do not appear to fall into any of the “essential” categories and will require closure of physical locations (brick-and-mortar stores and office spaces). You may, however, allow your employees to work from home, if feasible. The list of states that fall into to this strictest level of closure currently include the following and more:

  • California (Stay-home order effective March 19)
  • Pennsylvania (Physical locations of all non-life-sustaining business closed by order effective March 19 at 8:00 pm)
    • Philadelphia (Stay-at-home order effective March 23 at 8:00 am)
  • Illinois (Stay-at-home order effective March 21 at 5:00 pm)
  • New Jersey (Stay-at-home order effective March 21 at 9:00 pm)
  • New York (PAUSE order effective March 22 at 8:00 pm)
  • Louisiana (Stay-at-home order effective March 23 at 5:00 pm)
  • Connecticut (Stay-home order effective March 23 at 8:00 pm)
  • Ohio (Stay-at-home order effective March 23 at 11:50 pm)
  • Delaware (Non-Essential business closure order effective March 24 at 8:00 am)
  • Arizona (Stay-at-home order effective March 31 at 5:00 pm)
    • This order considers pawnbrokers “essential” businesses.

Many other states have instituted state-wide restrictions that include less strict closures of specific businesses and/or limitations on the number of people who can be in a business at once. In many states, the restrictions don’t yet appear broad enough to require closure of jewelry businesses. This list is much longer than the one above and includes the following states and many more:

  • Iowa (ordered closure of salons, spas, tattoo parlors, fitness centers and more until
    11:59 pm on March 31)
  • Florida (ordered limitation on number of people in social settings such as clubs, beaches, restaurant and recommended encouraging sick employees to stay home)

Other states have yet to institute any mandatory state-wide closures. This list includes the following state, and more:

  • Texas (expanded hospital capacity, but no shelter orders issues on state-level)
    • Local orders, with closures are in place in several counties, including:
      • Dallas County (Shelter-in-place order effective on March 23 at 11:59 pm requiring, in part, non-essential businesses to operate only from home, order amended on April 17, 2020)
        • This order considers pawn shops, precious metals dealers and gold/silver cash exchange businesses “essential,” thus these businesses may remain open in compliance with Exhibit D of the Dallas County amended order.

To determine if you must suspend your in-person business operations, please consult your state and local government websites and stay tuned into local news stations for live updates and reports.