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Transportation, Logistics Workers Deemed Essential During Coronavirus Crisis

·4 min read

The transportation industry is critical for the movement of goods. But are all employees working for transportation and logistics companies "essential" during these unprecedented times of mandatory quarantines?
New York joined California on Friday morning in ordering all nonessential workers to stay home.

The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
CISA Director Christopher Krebs said in a memorandum issued Thursday that the list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers was developed to provide guidance to state and local governments.
"As state and local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, CISA is offering this list to assist prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response, including the appropriate movement of critical infrastructure workers within and between jurisdictions," Krebs said.
The memorandum said essential industries "represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and health care, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement and public works."

Krebs said, "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 are hard at work keeping the lights on, water flowing from the tap, groceries on the shelves, among other countless essential services."

The CISA guidance, as listed, identifies those essential in transportation and logistics as:

  • Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers who maintain and inspect infrastructure, including those that require cross-border travel.

  • Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers who maintain and inspect infrastructure, including those that require cross-border travel.

  • Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.

  • Mass transit workers.

  • Workers responsible for operating or dispatching passenger, commuter and freight trains and maintaining rail infrastructure and equipment.

  • Maritime transportation workers — port workers, mariners and equipment operators.

  • Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions and services.

  • Automotive repair and maintenance facilities.

  • Manufacturers and distributors, including service centers and related operations, of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations.

  • Postal and shipping workers, including private companies.

  • Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers.

  • Air transportation employees, including air traffic controllers, ramp personnel, aviation security and aviation management.

  • Workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo by air transportation, including flight crews, maintenance, airport operations and other on- and off-airport facilities workers.

The Port of Oakland posted a link to the CISA list and reiterated Friday that it was exempt from shelter-in-place orders.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday night ordered all of the state's 40 million residents to stay home.
"The port, airport and their supply chain partners are considered essential businesses and therefore exempt from shelter mandates," the Port of Oakland confirmed Friday morning.

Also Friday morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state's residents, with the exception of those employed in essential jobs, will be required to stay home beginning "Sunday evening."

"We're all in quarantine now," said Cuomo, adding that violators will face civil penalties. "I'm not kidding about that."
Dredging Contractors of America (DCA) said it helped craft CISA's guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.
"We commend CISA for utilizing the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council and the Maritime Sector Coordinating Council in developing guidance on essential critical infrastructure workers," said DCA Chief Executive Officer William Doyle. DCA is a voting member of the Maritime Sector Coordinating Council.

The food industry association FMI also commended CISA for including food and agriculture and transportation and logistics as part of the essential and critical infrastructure.
"This allows grocery stores and their supply chain partners to maintain their daily operations," FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said. "The supply chain continues to adapt to meet the new levels of demand and being deemed an essential workforce allows the industry to restock and replenish products across the country without interruption."
In his task force update Friday, President Donald Trump said, "Truckers are making the long haul to keep stores stocked."
He also said, "You're seeing very few empty shelves."

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