For many countries, COVID-19 has shut down everything besides “essential businesses.” Unfortunately, what qualifies as an essential business is something that varies widely from country to country and state to state.
At least two countries, Italy and France, have declared that vape shops are considered essential businesses. Initially, only cigarette shops were considered essential businesses, not vape shops.
Vapers pointed out the hypocrisy and lack of reason to close vape shops if tobacco shops stayed open. If vape shops were closed and cigarette shops stayed open, there would be a lot of pressure for vapers to smoke again. The increased amount of smokers would definitely weaken respiratory systems and put more strain on hospitals that would be struggling to deal with the coronavirus already. After some discussion, vape shops were considered essential and allowed to stay open.
In the UK, there was a period of time vape shops were classified and neither essential or nonessential. While many vape shops willingly closed and moved online for the sake of public health, some vapers still wanted vape shops to be classified as essential businesses. They presented the same arguments as vapers in France and Italy about not wanting to put even more strain on the healthcare system. However, the UK went a different route and ordered all vape shops to close.
In the US, the definition of essential business varies from state to state - however, no states have defined vape shops as essential businesses. Despite cannabis and liquor stores being allowed to stay open, vape shops are not considered essential. In states where vape shops are not explicitly nonessential, some owners are trying to stay open by adopting practices such as curbside pickup rather than leaving their customers to return to cigarettes. This may also be compounded with the fact that many states do not allow online delivery of vape products, so ordering e liquid online is not an option for vapers.
Generally, vape shops are not considered essential businesses. Ordering online is the most likely and safest way to get vape supplies, even if there may be shipping complications and delays due to the pandemic.
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