From Bakeries in France to Golf Courses in Arizona, Here’s What Was Considered “Essential” During the Cross-Border Coronavirus Epidemic, Business Insider

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The sellers of fries are considered essential companies in Belgium.

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The sellers of fries are considered essential companies in Belgium.
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Kenzo Tribouillard / Getty Images
  • While countries, states and cities issue locks and home orders, only “essential” businesses remain open.
  • The businesses that fall into the “nonessential” category are mainly hobbies, such as theaters, museums, and gyms, says Irene Jiang of Business Insider.
  • While essential businesses typically include grocery stores, banks, and health operations across the board, the question of what is essential leaves room for interpretation and reveals the cultural values ​​of a region.
  • From golf courses in Arizona to bakeries in France, this is how regions of the world differ in their interpretation of the businesses that were essential during the coronavirus epidemic.
  • Visit the Business Insider home page for more stories.

Bakeries, where the French go to get their baguettes, bread and pastries, are open all over the country. Meanwhile, food establishments where people congregate, such as restaurants and cafes, are closed.

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An employee, wearing a protective mask, exhibits baguettes at the bakery “Ma Boulangerie” in Vertou near Nantes, France, March 17, 2020.
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Stéphane Mahe / Reuters

Source: Wall Street Journal, Reuters


The wine and cheese shops of France are also open. Bread, wine and cheese are considered the “Holy Trinity” of French cuisine.

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Pieces of French Roquefort blue cheese are displayed in a cheese dairy, or cheese dairy, in Paris.
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Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

Source: Wall Street Journal, French life


The frying stalls and French cabins remain open in Belgium, while – as in France – restaurants and cafes have closed. French fries are so deeply embedded in the country’s culture that the Belgians have asked that they be included in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.

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People line up in front of a french fries seller in central Brussels on March 14, 2020.
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Kenzo Tribouillard / Getty Images

Source: Reuters, SPF Public Health, Vice


Newsstand agents in Italy can sell tobacco, but not lottery tickets. More than 10 million, or 1 in 6, Italians smoke, according to the Tobacco Atlas, a partnership between the American Cancer Society and Vital Strategies, a global public health organization.

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A newspaper seller stands near his stand in Piazza Bainsizza on March 23, 2020 in Rome.
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Tiziana Fabi / Getty Images

Source: Local Italy, Tobacco Atlas, The World Bank


The famous cannabis cafes in the Netherlands remain open. When the government initially ordered them to shut down, it reversed its decision, fearing an increase in illegal transactions.

Source: Marijuana Business Daily


San Francisco and Denver have also backtracked on their plans to close the cannabis dispensaries. As of March 27, clinics in almost all 33 states where they are legal have been deemed essential, Politico reported.

Source: Politico


Golf courses remain open in Arizona, despite the backlash from five mayors across the state. Arizona has more than 300 golf courses, and January to April is considered the high season.

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A golf course in Arizona.
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Brocreative / Shutterstock

Source: Office of Governor Doug Ducey, Tucson.com, Golf Arizona, Golf Now


The question of whether liquor stores are essential varies across the United States. In New York they are; however, in neighboring Philadelphia, they are not.

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A patron stands in front of a shelf full of bottles of wine in Brooklyn on March 20, 2020.
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Angela Weiss / Getty Images

Source: New York State, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Business Insider


States and cities have also been divided to determine whether or not gun stores are essential. On March 28, the Trump administration added gun stores to the federal government’s recommended list of essential businesses. In response to the new guidelines, Los Angeles announced the reopening of gun stores.

Source: Business Insider, BBC

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