An Update on COVID-19 Essential Services

27. March 2020 0

On March 26, 2020, B.C. Public Safety Minister, Mike Farnworth, released a list of essential services as part of the government’s further measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.  According to the province, essential services are “those daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. They are the services British Columbians come to rely on in their daily lives.”

Essential services should and are encouraged to remain open; however, they must follow the orders and guidance provided by Dr. Bonnie Henry (PHO – Public Health Officer), to ensure safe operations and to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.  The list of COVID-19 Essential Services consists of 9 categories:

  1. Health and health services
  2. Law enforcement, public safety, first responders, and emergency response personnel
  3. Vulnerable population service providers
  4. Critical infrastructure service providers
  5. Food and agriculture service providers
  6. Transportation, infrastructure, and manufacturing
  7. Sanitation
  8. Communications, information sharing, and information technology (IT)
  9. Non-health essential service providers

Some of the notable essential services include:

  • Physicians, nurses, dentists, psychiatrists, , chiropractors, physical therapists, and pharmacists
  • Counsellors, social workers, and mental health providers
  • Police, fire, by-law enforcement, search and rescue, and communications and dispatching first responders
  • Foodbanks, community kitchens, voluntary and community service providers
  • Mental health, substance use, and addictions services
  • Care for seniors, adults, children, or individuals with disabilities
  • Childcare services for those persons providing essential services
  • Utilities, electricity, drinking water, waste management, and transportation
  • Gas stations and electric charging stations
  • Veterinarians
  • Grocery stores, convenience stores, cannabis stores, and liquor stores
  • Stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products necessary to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential daily operation of residences
  • Local, regional, and provincial delivery services, including businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to business and residences
  • Mailing and shipping services including postal services
  • Taxis and other private transportation services
  • Hotels and places of accommodation
  • Waste (garbage and organics) and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • Newspapers, television, radio, online news outlets, and other media services
  • Telecommunication services
  • Banks and their branches
  • Real estate agents
  • Insurance providers
  • Plumbers, electricians, and mechanics
  • Professional services including lawyers, paralegals, accountants, and translators
  • Laundry-service providers and laundromats
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, if operating under rules for social and physical distancing or other recommendations from the PHO

A complete list of COVID-19 Essential Services can be found here.

According to the province, any business or service that has not been ordered to close and is also not identified on the COVID-19 Essential Services list may stay open, however only if they can adapt their services and workplace to comply with orders and recommendations of the PHO.


Looking for more information and updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic?  Please contact Ryan Chan at or anyone else from our team listed on the Authors page.