Manufacturing industry working to clarify “essential businesses” and “critical workers’

As states work to address shelter-in-place mandates, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber & Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) guidance on the Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers to help state and local officials decide how to protect communities and maintain needed services. CISA guidance, which is updated frequently, recommends food and agriculture manufacturing as “essential.”

Christine Sohar Henter, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg, notes each state defines “essential” businesses, entities and services differently. “Currently, no mandatory, federal rules exist to-date on the definition of “essential,” rather it determined state-by-state.” Members should review these guidelines, along with any state guidance. “For example, New York defines “essential manufacturing” to include “food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages,” she says. “New York also has a mechanism for an entity to request designation as an ‘essential business.’”

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) requested formal, nationwide “essential business” and “essential infrastructure” designations for all manufacturing facilities, supply chains and their employees. Until these designations are made, consult the NAM State Restriction Snapshot Tracker for state-by-state updates.