As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 16th, 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.”
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (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. CISA uses trusted partnerships with both the public and private sectors to deliver infrastructure resilience assistance and guidance to a broad range of partners.
In accordance with this mandate, and in collaboration with other federal agencies and the private sector, CISA developed an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” to help State and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. 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.
The attached list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.
We recognize that State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are ultimately in charge of implementing and executing response activities in communities under their jurisdiction, while the Federal Government is in a supporting role. 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.
Accordingly, this list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself.
In addition, these identified sectors and workers are not intended to be the authoritative or exhaustive list of critical infrastructure sectors and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response. Instead, State and local officials should use their own judgment in using their authorities and issuing implementation directives and guidance. Similarly, critical infrastructure industry partners will use their own judgment, informed by this list, to ensure continued operations of critical infrastructure services and functions. All decisions should appropriately balance public safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical infrastructure services and functions.
CISA will continue to work with you and our partners in the critical infrastructure community to update this list as the Nation’s response to COVID-19 evolves. We also encourage you to submit how you might use this list so that we can develop a repository of use cases for broad sharing across the country.
Should you have questions about this list, please contact CISA at CISA.CAT@cisa.dhs.gov.
Attachment: “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response”
Version 1.1 (March 23, 2020) CISA_Guidance_on_the_Essential_Critical_Infrastructure_Workforce_508C_0
THE IMPORTANCE OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS
Functioning critical infrastructure is imperative during the response to the COVID-19 emergency for both public health and safety as well as community well-being. Certain critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations.
This guidance and accompanying list are intended to support State, Local, and industry partners in identifying the critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers needed 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.
This document gives guidance to State, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions and the private sector on defining essential critical infrastructure workers. Promoting the ability of such workers to continue to work during periods of community restriction, access management, social distancing, or closure orders/directives is crucial to community resilience and continuity of essential functions.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS
This list was developed in consultation with federal agency partners, industry experts, and State and local officials, and is based on several key principles:
1. Response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic are locally executed, State managed, and federally supported
2. Everyone should follow guidance from the CDC, as well as State and local government officials, regarding strategies to limit disease spread.
3. Workers should be encouraged to work remotely when possible and focus on core business activities. In- person, non-mandatory activities should be delayed until the resumption of normal operations.
4. When continuous remote work is not possible, businesses should enlist strategies to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, separating staff by off-setting shift hours or days and/or social distancing. These steps can preserve the workforce and allow operations to continue.
Read the full document: CISA_Guidance_on_the_Essential_Critical_Infrastructure_Workforce_508C_0