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Trade Groups Want Uniform Definition of Essential Companies; ST&R Can Help

Friday, March 27, 2020
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Dozens of trade groups are asking President Trump, as well as state governors and city mayors, for more uniform determinations of which companies and industries are considered essential and will be able to continue operating as a growing number of jurisdictions issue orders shutting down non-essential activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg is actively working to assist companies affected by such orders. For more information or assistance, please contact trade consultant Nicole Bivens Collinson.

In a March 25 letter, trade groups representing “the manufacturers, distributors, and supply chain of the products and raw materials that ensure public health and safety” warned that “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.” They therefore requested that the following actions be taken as soon as possible.

Critical Infrastructure. States should agree to directly adopt the Department of Homeland Security’s definition of “critical infrastructure” as a baseline. In addition, states and localities should try to achieve as uniform a definition and consistent application of this term as possible, recognizing that each may need to provide broader definitions based on their own circumstances.

Based on this approach, the trade groups requested that the industries they represent “be consistently designated essential” and that their facilities, workforces, and supply chains be allowed to “continue to operate uninterrupted.”

Research conducted by ST&R indicates that the businesses considered essential in the 28 states that have issued full or partial shutdown orders thus far include those engaged in warehousing, storage, distribution, transportation, and shipping; some retail stores; and businesses that allow essential businesses to operate.

Transportation. Officials should commit to not creating any artificial barriers to the transportation of covered products and work in a coordinated fashion to ensure the safe shipment of goods from manufacturing facilities to retailers.

Workforce. Officials should 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.

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