CISA Again Makes Major Changes to its Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Guidance

April 17, 2020Alerts

Several states that have issued shelter-in-place orders or required nonessential businesses to close to slow the spread of COVID-19, reference or rely upon the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce in their own directives on what businesses are permitted to continue operating.

While it has been only advisory so far, CISA's guidance has changed dramatically as the result of an April 17, 2020 update, which made drastic changes to the last version from March 28, 2020.  Version 3.0 provides clarity around a range of positions needed to support the critical infrastructure functions laid out in the original guidance and Version 2.0. This iteration includes a reorganization of the section around "Healthcare and Public Health" and more detail to clarify essential workers; emphasis for Emergency Medical Services workers; and adds lawyers and legal aid workers.

It also includes language focused on sustained access and freedom of movement —  a reference to the CDC guidance on safety for critical infrastructure workers; and a statement saying sick employees should avoid the workplace and the work force. In worker categories, all references to “employees” or “contractors” have been changed to “workers.” Other additions include a reference to the USCG Marine Safety Information Bulletin on essential maritime workers; clarified language including vehicle manufacturing; and many other small changes to clarify language.

As a result of those changes, your business may now have an argument or guidance it can cite to argue that it can safely remain open. Of course, if that is the case, your company MUST continue to follow the sanitization, cleaning and social distancing requirements outlined by the Department of Health in your state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This linked, red-lined document illustrates the changes in detail, with deletions noted in red and new language in blue.

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