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‘Essential’ businesses: Florists, boat sellers and toy makers

‘Essential’ businesses: Florists, boat sellers and toy makers

The Funko warehouse in Everett on Thursday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald) EVERETT — During a pandemic, what’s an essential business, and what’s not? Judging by the more than 12,000 seeking an exemption from Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order — and the more than 7,000 complaints logged with the state alleging violations — there’s not wide agreement, despite release of a long, explanatory list . Penny Thomas, state Department of Commerce spokeswoman, said a team of emergency operations staff is sorting through “thousands of requests to make determinations as quickly as possible.” While businesses wait for a response, they can continue to operate during the coronavirus outbreak, she said. Among the sectors detailed in the list of essential businesses and occupations are health care, law enforcement and first responders, of course; public works; food and related agriculture; utility providers; transportation and logistics; communications and information technology, including the news media; government; and “critical” manufacturing. Some not mentioned in the list have come up with their own interpretations. Do florists delivering flowers qualify as “agriculture”? What we know: Washington coronavirus outbreak at a glance Washington Floral Service, a wholesale firm with warehouses in Tacoma and Spokane, applied for and received a state exemption, Chris Berglund, a company vice president, told The Herald. “We’re essential,” Berglund said. Many of his customers — retail florists — are also seeking exemptions. “From what we’re hearing, it’s a 50-50 split on whether florists are getting an exemption,” Berglund said. “It seems to depend on whether they say they’re a flower shop or agriculture.” “If you can do a food delivery, you can just as easily do a floral delivery,” he said. Can yacht and pleasure boat dealers fit into the transportation category — as “marine consultants”? Harry Walp, president and CEO […]

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