March 25, 2020
Dear Mr. President, Governors, Mayors and other local elected officials:
We recognize and appreciate the aggressive steps that are being taken to respond to the threats of the COVID-19 virus. We represent the manufacturers, distributors and supply chain of the products and raw materials that ensure public health and safety during these times of a pandemic. Protecting our workforce, their families and our communities are our top priorities.
Unfortunately, there are well-intentioned actions being taken at the state and local levels that may fundamentally impede or otherwise threaten the supply of critical products. It is imperative that the federal, state and local governments come together with uniform definitions of “critical infrastructure” making clear what manufacturers must continue to operate, as well as take seriously the need to transport those products and have the workforce available to keep operations running. Curfews that do not consider transportation and workforce needs could quickly become significant barriers to not only supply chains, but also actual supplies. Accordingly, we are asking for the following actions to be coordinated in the most expedient fashion:
- States should agree to directly adopt the definition of “critical infrastructure” as defined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a floor and commit to keep these critical manufacturing facilities open across the nation. Follow guidance from the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to identify essential critical infrastructure workers during COVID-19 response. Attempt to coordinate all states and localities to achieve as uniform a definition and consistent application as possible, recognizing the need for states or localities to provide broader definitions of critical infrastructure based on their own state or local circumstances.
- Commit to not creating any artificial barriers to the transportation of these products and work in a coordinated fashion to ensure the safe shipment of goods from manufacturing facilities to retailers.
- Ensure that any curfews do not impede a healthy workforce from getting to and from manufacturing facilities and retailers during all necessary hours of operation. As you consider national, statewide or local measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, we respectfully request that our industries be consistently designated essential and permitted to maintain operations throughout this challenging time, using the DHS definition as a minimum guide to the fullest extent practicable.
Our member companies are proud to support the ongoing national response to COVID-19. We will continue to act responsibly and limit the spread of the virus at our facilities. We ask that those facilities, workforces and their supply chains continue to operate uninterrupted so that we may provide the strongest possible response for the American public.