As more states are ordering millions of residents to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, President Donald Trump issued an update on his “Coronavirus Guidance for America” that highlights the importance of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as health care services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule,” the President said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has identified a list of industries and workers that are essential during the coronavirus response. According to the DHS Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), there are 16 employment categories that the agency identifies as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.
These jobs are considered so vital to the United States that their loss would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof. The 16 employment categories that the agency identifies as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers include:
1. Healthcare and public health workers
Hospital and laboratory personnel, caregivers, mental health workers, doctors, nurses, researchers, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, lab technicians, as well as funeral home and cemetery workers, commercial disinfectant services, janitorial/cleaning personnel, and laundry services.
2. Emergency services
Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, 911 call center workers and emergency management personnel. The list also includes security guards, shooting ranges, and manufacturers, retailers, and distributors of firearms and ammunition.
3. Food and agriculture workers
Food and agriculture workers include those who work in grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants (including delivery drivers), company cafeterias, animal agriculture workers, and the food and beverage industries. Farmers, food processing workers, warehouse workers, and food truck delivery drivers are also on the list.
4. Energy employees
This category includes utilities, natural gas/propane workers, the electricity industry, engineers and workers distributing, servicing, repairing, or installing residential and commercial HVAC systems, boilers, furnaces and other heating, cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation equipment.
5. Water and wastewater
Employees needed to operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure.
6. Transportation and logistics
This includes mass transit workers, auto repair and maintenance workers, trash collectors, postal and shipping workers, air traffic controllers, air transportation employees, dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck drivers, truck stop and rest area workers.
7. Public works and infrastructure support
Public works employees who operate, inspect and maintain dams, locks, levees, bridges, and other infrastructure. This also includes workers who oversee sewer main breaks, traffic signals and buried/underground utilities.
8. Communications and information technology
Technicians, operators, call centers, landline and wireless providers, cable service providers, satellite operations, and manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment. Workers who support radio, television, and media service, including news reporters, studio, and technicians for news gathering and reporting, are also included in this category, as well as data center operators, HVAC and electrical engineers, security personnel, IT managers, software/hardware engineers, and database administrators.
9. Government facilities and operations
Elections personnel, security staff, trade officials, weather forecasters, customs workers; employees who provide permits and inspections for construction supporting essential infrastructure; staff at government offices who perform title search, notary, and recording services in support of mortgage and real estate services and transactions. The list also includes educators facilitating distance learning or providing other essential functions.
10. Critical manufacturing
Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and the defense industrial base.
11. Hazardous materials
Workers at nuclear facilities, workers managing medical waste, workers managing waste from pharmaceuticals and medical material production, and workers at laboratories processing test kits.
12. Financial services
Bank employees and other financial/lending institutions; workers needed to keep ATM services available to consumers; as well as those staffing call centers, data and security operations centers, managing physical security, or providing accounting and insurance services.
13. Chemical workers
Workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including workers at chemical manufacturing plants; workers in laboratories; workers at distribution facilities; workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods including those that produce hand sanitizers, food and food additives, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and paper products.
14. Defense industrial base
Workers who support the essential services required to meet national security commitments to the federal government and U.S. military such as mechanical and software engineers, manufacturing and production workers, IT support, security staff, security personnel, intelligence support, aircraft and weapon systems mechanics.
15. Commercial facilities
Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint/coatings, and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions.
16. Residential shelter facilities and services
Workers who support food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for the needy, elderly, and disabled groups and individuals. Also includes workers supporting the construction of housing, the leasing of residential properties, property management, maintenance, and related services to provide individuals and families with access to available housing.
Note: The list of essential employees is advisory in nature – it’s not a federal directive or standard. Additionally, individual jurisdictions can add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion.
In conclusion, while the doctors, nurses, and EMTs are working hard saving lives, it’s those who provide our basic necessities – the truckers and warehouse workers, grocery store clerks and stockers, food service workers, trash collectors, utility workers, HVAC technicians, electricians and plumbers – that are out there keeping the country going!