New businesses and workers considered essential under updated CISA guidelines

On March 19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released its initial advisory memorandum identifying essential critical infrastructure workers. The memo was penned to assist state, local, tribal, territorial and industry partners identify which businesses and workers qualify as essential and are required “to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and that need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response.”

As mandatory statewide stay-at-home orders are issued, states and businesses continue to struggle with what businesses and workers qualify as essential. In an effort to better assist states and businesses, CISA released an updated memo on March 28. The updated memo includes new essential sectors and workers, including:

  1. Healthcare/public health – Optometrists, chiropractors, manufacturer workers for health manufacturing, and individuals that work at retail facilities specializing in medical goods and supplies.
  2. Law enforcement, public safety, and other first responders – Public, private and voluntary personnel, workers supporting the manufacturing of safety equipment, workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition manufacturers and retailers, public agency workers responding to abuse and neglect, workers who support weather disaster, and security staff.
  3. Food and agriculture – Convenience stores, food prep centers, carry-out and delivery food employees, pest control, and workers essential for school lunch programs.
  4. Energy – Workers supporting the energy sector regardless of the energy source (such as nuclear, fossil, or renewable), energy trading, IT for essential energy sector operations, and workers manufacturing and distributing equipment, supplies, and parts necessary to maintain service an energy sector facilities.
  5. Water and wastewater – Field staff and chemical and equipment suppliers for water and wastewater systems.
  6. Transportation and logistics – Truck drivers, bus drivers, Department of Motor Vehicle employees, towing services, taxis, workers supporting transportation via inland waterways, and warehouse operators.
  7. Public works and infrastructure support services – Builders, contractors, HVAC technicians, landscapers, landfill operations, and workers who ensure continued maritime commerce.
  8. Communications and information technology – Government and private sector employees with work related to undersea cable infrastructure, publishing news, and workers providing security and safety services.
  9. Other community or government-based operations and essential functions – Public and private sector elections support, workers supporting judicial system operations, Census 2020 employees, clergy, and staff that support real estate services.
  10. Critical manufacturing – Steel and aluminum workers, workers necessary for the manufacturing of personal protective equipment, workers necessary for mining, and workers necessary for essential services in the remote workforce.
  11. Hazardous materials – Workers who manage hazardous materials associated with any other essential activity, including healthcare waste and energy.
  12. Financial services – Workers needed to maintain orderly market operations, workers needed to provide consumer access to bank and non-bank financial services, workers supporting production of debit and credit cards, and workers providing electronic point of sale support personnel.
  13. Chemical – Workers who transport building materials, plumbing and electrical products and workers supporting the production of disinfectants and fragrances.
  14. Defense and industrial base – Personnel who provide support for weapon systems, software systems, cybersecurity, defense, space systems, and other activities in support of our military, intelligence and space forces.
  15. Commercial facilities – Workers who support the supply chain of building materials, workers supporting ecommerce, hardware stores, and workers who support heating, cooling, refrigeration and ventilation equipment and service.
  16. Residential/shelter facilities and services – Dependent care services, animal shelters, property management, and housing construction.
  17. Hygiene products and services – Workers who produce hygiene products, laundry services, household goods repair, and support required for continuity of services such as janitorial and cleaning personnel.

The above list and guidelines provided by CISA are not exhaustive and are intended to act as advisory guidance on defining and identifying the essential sectors and workers that are crucial to community resilience and continuity of essential functions.

McDonald Hopkins has a team of professionals dedicated to assisting businesses experiencing financial distress as result of the coronavirus. Click here for a list of articles focused on providing legal and business solutions to the impact of the coronavirus on your business.

If you need assistance in determining if your business qualifies as essential under CISA’s updated guidelines, please contract one of the attorneys listed below.

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