States around the country have issued shelter-in-place orders urging people to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These orders have led to some confusion over what is and what is not essential.
Essential Businesses in Arizona
Governor Ducey has issued multiple executive orders related to COVID-19.
On March 19, Governor Ducey issued an executive order to limit the operations of certain businesses. Under this order, bars, movie theaters, indoor gyms and fitness clubs were ordered to close as of close of business on March 20. Additionally, restaurants in counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases were ordered to close on-site dining areas.
On March 30, Governor Ducey issued another executive order urging Arizonans to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected.” Under this order, Arizonans are not supposed to leave their home except for certain approved reasons, such as buying groceries, getting outdoor exercise and engaging in activities that are essential for health and safety. People are also allowed to leave their home for employment if their job provides essential functions.
Governor Ducey provided a list of businesses that are considered to provide essential services. This list includes insurance services.
Staying Safe During the Pandemic
Even though insurance agents are considered essential, proper precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important for agents serving clients who are older or have chronic health conditions and therefore have a higher risk for COVID-19 complications.
The CDC has issued recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19. These recommendations include the following:
- Stay home as much as possible. When you have to go out, wear a cloth face cover and stay six feet away from other people.
- Wash your hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you cannot wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- Clean and disinfect phones, keyboards, doorknobs and other high-touch surfaces daily.
Whenever possible, work should be done remotely. Carriers are developing new processes to help agents work while adhering to social distancing guidelines. In some cases, this includes allowing more virtual and telephonic options. Talk to your broker managers to find out your options.