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What defines essential businesses in SLO County

Posted at 11:58 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 17:11:07-04

During this coronavirus pandemic, some businesses are allowed to remain open, while others have been forced to close their doors.

In San Luis Obispo County, bakeries, creameries, and coffee shops are allowed to remain open, while places like some dentist offices have closed. That's raised the question for some as to what defines an essential business.

Businesses like Scout Coffee in San Luis Obispo have been able to keep their doors open.

"Trying to provide that sense of normalcy for our customers. There's so much ritual around drinking coffee and having that coffee shop experience," said Sara Peterson, Scout Coffee co-owner.

The federal government identified 16 sectors of business as essential.

Food and agriculture is one of them and while healthcare is also one of the sectors deemed essential, many dentists have limited their practices based on guidance from the California Department of Public Health.

Most dentists are now only performing emergency procedures.

"We're very intimately connected with saliva and mucus and the virus is known to spread through that, and there's no real social distancing in dentistry, you're right there," said Dr. Don Phipps, local dentist.

In Governor Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order, he said Californians must have access to necessities such as food, prescriptions, and healthcare.

Pet groomers did not make the list but say they should have.

San Luis Obispo County officials say the call was based on guidance from the county's veterinarian.

"Pet grooming is essential because we do a lot of preventive stuff before the vet gets to the dog. We're checking the dogs for bumps, lumps, tumors, ticks, all these sort of things," said Daron Stallings, K-Nine mobile baths owner.

The stay-at-home order still requires people to practice social distancing when visiting or working at these places of business that have been deemed essential.

For a list of the 16 sectors of business deemed essential, click here.

This article has been edited to clarify that dentists have voluntarily limited their practices based on guidance from the state health department. Dentists are considered part of the essential workforce under Gov. Newsom's executive order. Click here for more information from the California Department of Public Health.