As “stay-at-home” orders have rolled out across the United States, businesses, particularly financial services companies, have scoured definitional provisions to understand whether all forms of financial services companies have been designated as “essential businesses” and therefore exempt from closure requirements. What numerous financial services firms have found is that many categories of the financial services sector tend to be defined as essential businesses, but jurisdictions do not consistently define what is an essential financial services business. As a result, in some cases only banks and insurance companies have been specifically exempted from stay-at-home orders, whereas in other cases, jurisdictions apply and even expand upon the guidance that was issued by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 19, 2020.
The CISA guidance was issued in an effort to provide communities and state governments with an initial list of what constitute “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” to ensure continuity of functions critical to public health and safety as well as economic and national security. With respect to financial services, the guidance states that the following workers are considered essential: