Is the Post Office Open? Are Banks Open? The Essential Businesses Open During Stay at Home Coronavirus Orders

As states have implemented stay at home orders to delay the spread of the coronavirus, many non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and bars, will be closed. But essential businesses, like grocery stores, will remain open, and people are allowed to leave the house to perform necessary errands. But what are the essential businesses and what will stay open?

Essential businesses during the stay at home orders

  • Post offices
  • Banks
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Grocery stores
  • Laundry services

Is the post office open?

The post office will stay open and postal services, including private companies like UPS and FedEx, will remain operational during the stay-at-home orders as they are deemed essential.

Like grocery stores, post offices will have health and safety measures in place, such as social distancing signs and tape on the floor to help people keep two meters apart while waiting in line.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) said in a statement: "The postal system is used to deliver, among other things, important governmental information and benefits, mail that is essential to the functioning of our economy, elections materials, and packages containing vital necessities, including medicines and other goods, and is a part of the nation's critical infrastructure."

Additionally, as postal and shipping workers are considered key workers, they will continue working following normal schedules.

Post offices will be open and postal services will remain operational during the stay at home orders. Justin Sullivan/Getty

Are banks open?

Banks are considered an essential business and will remain open. However, many banking services are available online or via an app, so you may not have to leave your home to access your bank.

While banks will be open, they may be operating with modified hours, such as the Bank of America, which will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday to Friday to make time for daily cleaning.

Bank of America said in a statement: "Keeping our financial centers open is an important part of our fundamental role in the communities in which we live and work. Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our teammates and clients at each location.

"We have taken proactive steps to enhance cleaning procedures and other measures to limit the risk of exposure, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)."

So while banks will be open, check with your bank to see if the service you need can be accessed online and check if your local branch has updated its opening hours before heading out.

Will grocery stores stay open?

Grocery stores are an essential service and will remain open during the social distancing orders. However, grocery stores are updating their operating hours, often closing earlier to give staff time to clean and restock the store. Additionally, many grocery stores are dedicating certain hours to elderly and vulnerable customers to allow them time to shop without crowds.

What is a non-essential business?

Non-essential businesses that will be closed while a stay at home order is in place include dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms, fitness studios, convention centers, hair and nail salons.

Although dine-in restaurants are closed, some restaurants will remain open for carry-out and drive-thru orders only. Additionally, they may be operating with restricted hours.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

• Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
• Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
• Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

• Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
• Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
• If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
• Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
• Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

• Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
• Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
• Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
• Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
• Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
• Do not reuse single-use masks.
• Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
• The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.