Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19


On March 19, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released guidance to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID-19.

As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 16, the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America.  This guidance states that:

“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

CISA executes the Secretary of Homeland Security’s responsibilities as assigned under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide strategic guidance, promote a national unity of effort, and coordinate the overall Federal effort to ensure the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure.  The list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers was developed in coordination with Federal agencies and the private sector as a guide to help decision-makers within communities understand how to ensure continuity of essential functions and critical workforce as they consider COVID-related restrictions in certain communities (e.g., shelter-in-place).  The list can also inform critical infrastructure community decision-making to determine the sectors, sub sectors, segments, or critical functions that should continue normal operations, appropriately modified to account for Centers for Disease Control (CDC) workforce and customer protection guidance.

These critical functions include, but are not limited to, systems that support healthcare personnel (e.g., doctors, nurses, laboratory personnel, etc.), the food industry (e.g., retail groceries and pharmacies), communication providers (e.g., operator, call centers, IT data centers), defense systems support, law enforcement, public works, and other essential operations.  Workers who support these critical functions are necessary to keep critical systems and assets working.

“As the nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, everyone has a role to play in protecting public health and safety.  Many of the men and women who work across our nation’s critical infrastructure industries are hard at work keeping the lights on, water flowing from the tap, groceries on the shelves, among other countless essential services,” CISA Director Christopher Krebs said.  “As the nation’s risk advisor, this list is meant to provide additional guidance to state and local partners, as well as industry, building on the President’s statement that critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility to keep normal operations.  We’re providing recommendations for these partners as they carry out their mission to keep their communities safe, healthy, and resilient.  And on behalf of CISA, we thank the brave men and women who continue these essential jobs in challenging times.”

The list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers was developed using existing data and analysis, including publicly available analysis done by the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council in 2007.  The list does not impose any mandates on state or local jurisdictions or private companies.

CISA will use this list to support federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government response to COVID-19.  To view the full list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers and to learn more about our efforts, visit www.cisa.gov/coronavirus.

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE JOBS DEEMED ESSENTIAL

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores, and other retail that sells human food, animal/pet food, and beverage products;
  • Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations;
  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees – to include those employed in food processing facilities (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.); livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging;
  • Farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically;
  • Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs;
  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers;
  • Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail;
  • Company cafeterias – in-plant cafeterias used to feed employees;
  • Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education;
  • Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments;
  • Employees of companies engaged in the production, storage, transport, and distribution of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids;
  • Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc.; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants, renderers, and associated regulatory and government workforce;
  • Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products; and
  • Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution.
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