Keeping Employees Working: Is Your Business In a Critical Infrastructure Sector?

By Corie J. Anderson - Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson, P.A.

March 25, 2020

As Wisconsin’s Governor Evers has issued a “Safer At Home Order“, Minnesota businesses are scrambling to determine whether, in the event Governor Walz issues a similar executive order, their employees will be exempt from such order. Why does this matter? It allows employers to keep employees working (to an extent) and require that they maintain their normal work schedule. The DHS CISA guidance specifically notes President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidance for America which states:

"If you work in a critical infrastructure industry…you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule"

As expected, Gov. Evers included all businesses on the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)list of 16 critical infrastructure sectors during COVID-19. This is a list that most states (that I’ve seen) have included in their list of businesses that may remain open in the event of a shut-down. Below is the list and a few sub-items for businesses:

1. Chemical Sector
2. Commercial Facilities Sector
3. Critical Manufacturing Sector
        I. Primary metals manufacturing
        II. Machinery manufacturing
        III. Electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing
        IV. Transportation equipment manufacturing
4. Dams Sector
5. Defense Industrial Base Sector (note, if your business is a supplier/subcontract within this sector, you will likely get a letter from the government contractor confirming this – I have seen several already sent to MN employers)
6. Emergency Services Sector
7. Energy Sector
8. Financial Services Sector
9. Food and Agriculture Sector
10. Government Facilities Sector
11. Healthcare and Public Sector
        I. Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
        II. Support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste
12. Information and Technology Sector
13. Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
14. Transportation System Sector
        I. Employees who repair and maintain vehicles
        II. Automotive repair and maintenance facilities
        III. Manufacturers and distributors of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations.
15. Water and Wastewater Systems Sector

If Minnesota gets to this point, I will certainly expand upon this in another post. As it stands, Governor Walz is relying on old technology for now…simply asking Minnesotan’s to maintain social distancing.

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