By William E. Brueckner

On March 18, 2020, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.6, [1]  directing all businesses and not-for-profit entities in New York State to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely utilize, and reduce the in-person workforce at each business/work location by 75% from employment levels existing prior to the declaration of a state of emergency relating to COVID-19. That Executive Order reportedly was updated as of March 20, 2020, to require a 100% reduction. (The updated Executive Order has not been widely published as of the writing of this update.)

The Executive Orders provide that  any “essential businesses or entities” including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to the in-person restriction.  (Essential Businesses must continue, however, to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health).  Guidance materials issued in connection with the March 18 Executive Order give limited amplification as to what business operations constitute “essential” businesses, and suggest that it may be possible for other businesses to be designated as “essential” on a case-by-case basis.  The guidance materials can be found at this link:

https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026

There can be little question that the Executive Orders mandating workforce reduction for non-essential workforce activity have the potential for adverse impacts on our clients’ ability to comply with their earlier-made contractual obligations for delivery of goods and services.  We are very confident that the impact of these Executive Orders serves as a force majeure excusing or delaying those obligations.  We are preparing a form letter for our clients to use in communicating with their customers and contractual counterparties. 

We’re happy to help you navigate the issues arising from the workforce reduction orders.  Similarly, if it we can help to address their impact on your business’ ability to honor its pre-existing obligations, contact us and we’ll help!


[1]           Executive Order 202.6 (March 18, 2020). Another Executive Order was issued March 20, 2020, reportedly requiring 100% workforce reductions for non-essential services.  As of this writing, we have been unable to review the precise terms of the new Executive Order.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.