As states and cities have forced what they consider “nonessential businesses” to close to slow the spread of coronavirus, lobbyists for industries from retail to reefer have been hustling to make the case that they’re too important to be shut down — a designation that could mean millions for companies and the employees who keep them running.

Business interests have argued that the constantly changing rules in different states, counties and cities have created a patchwork of restrictions that are inconsistently enforced and are costly to adhere to, as the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation wrote in letters to governors last week.

“In a lot of ways, states and local governments are choosing winners and losers,” said Douglas Friednash, a Denver lawyer who has lobbied on the restrictions in recent weeks.

Companies and trade groups seeking to shape the rules are lobbying governors, most of whom have issued executive orders detailing which businesses can remain open and which must close.