Essential and Non-Essential Services: COVID-19

Anyone who must access essential services is to practice safe social distancing and good hand hygiene. If you feel unwell stay at home. Only one person per household should be going out to get groceries or supplies from essential services.

Employers should:

  • lead and practice safe social distancing with staff
  • ensure anyone who is ill or self-isolating not report to work
  • support working from home, where possible

Essential services

"Essential services" means services that the interruption of which would endanger the life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the population.

Non-essential services

"Non-essential services" means services not providing food supplies, health, financial support or utilities and when not offered to the public will not impact life, health or personal safety.

The following is a guide for residents to better understand what is essential versus non-essential:

Essential Services

Financial services, including:

  • Capital markets, and related securities trading and advisory services
  • Banking/Credit Union activities including credit intermediation
  • Insurance
  • Real estate trading and agency related services

Food, including:

  • Convenience stores
  • Discount stores
  • Farmers markets (pick-up and delivery service only)
  • Food Banks
  • Restaurants (take-out, drive-through and delivery service only)
  • Supermarkets and grocery stores

Health and wellness, including:

  • Dental, optometrists, ophthalmologist, physical therapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, and other regulated health professionals - only to provide urgent care
  • Healthcare
  • Healthcare operations
  • Pharmacies

Household needs, including:

  • Cleaning and restoration services (emergency only)
  • Fuel Distribution Services
  • Hardware stores
  • Garbage collection

Key personal services, including:

  • Auto repair shops
  • Banks
  • Computer and cellphone service and repair
  • Courier services
  • Court services
  • Electronic and office supply retailers
  • Gas stations
  • Hotels and motels (with the exception of B&Bs and inns)
  • Laundromats and commercial dry cleaners
  • Pet stores
  • Post offices
  • Public transit (including taxi service and Pat & the Elephant)
  • Rental companies (vehicles and equipment)
  • Repair services (construction, electrical, plumbing, and heating)
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Moving firms

Key public services, including:

  • Child Protection Services
  • Executive Municipal Governance
  • Fire and Police Protection
  • Maintenance of utilities (e.g. electricity)
  • Payroll departments
  • Provision of clean water
  • Road maintenance/repair
  • Transportation

Supply chain, including:

  • Agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries services
  • Feed mills
  • Food distribution and storage centres
  • Food Manufacturers
  • Industrial manufacturers

Other services, including:

  • Current construction services and projects (industrial, commercial, institutional and residential)
  • Professional services, including but not limited to, lawyers and paralegals, engineers, accountants - teleworking & working from home where possible.
  • Call centres necessary for the operation of essential services
  • Telecommunications (phone [landline and mobile], internet, radio, television)
  • Security services, including private security guards, monitoring or surveillance equipment

Non-essential services


  • Organized outdoor and indoor events (festivals, sporting, concerts, etc.)
  • Recreational facilities/indoors (arenas, pools/wellness recreational centres, youth centres, gyms and fitness facilities, yoga and pilates studios, bowling alleys, etc.)
  • Casinos, horse-racing, Bingos, Chase the Ace and other community fundraising activities
  • Malls and retail stores (with the exception of those businesses identified as Essential Services)
  • Community centres
  • Libraries
  • Tour Operators
  • Bottle Depots
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Bars and clubs
  • Theatres and movie theatres
  • Restaurant dining rooms and buffet style service
  • Personal service establishments (barber, hair salons, massage, nail and other salons, spas, tattoo and piercing studios)
  • Regulated health professionals, unless the services to be provided are to address essential health care or an emergency health care situation. Virtual care for non-emergency/elective care services is permitted, if professionals are authorized to provide this care within their scope of practice and as established by their governing college.
  • Unregulated health services providers, with the exception of those that are providing direct support to regulated health services providers in essential health care or an emergency health care situation.

Non-essential services may continue serving the public by means of phone, virtual services, delivery or pick-up, provided that the following preventative measures are in place:  

  1. take every reasonable step to ensure minimal interaction of people within two metres of each other; 
  2. enhance cleaning requirements of frequently touched surfaces and hand washing hygiene; and 
  3. take every reasonable step required to prevent employees from entering workplaces who are required to self isolate.

Essential Workers from Out of Province

Guidelines are available for essential workers from out of province.

Published date: 
March 28, 2020
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121