Trump Administration Makes Clear “Trucking is Essential” as States Order Businesses Closed
Washington D.C. – As the list of states currently under “stay at home” orders grows, the Trump Administration is making clear its position on the role the trucking industry plays in American life.
As of this writing, seventeen state governors have issued stay at home orders, and numerous others have also ordered all “non-essential” businesses to close amid the coronavirus outbreak.
California governor Gavin Newsom was the first to issue the sweeping stay at home — also called “shelter in place” — order last week.
A few hours later, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State issued a similar order as the Granite State, in recent days, has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 fight in the U.S.
“These provisions will be enforced,” Gov. Cuomo said during a news conference when making the announcement. “These are not helpful hints. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions. They will be enforced. There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance. Again, your actions can affect my health. That’s where we are.”
As State and local leaders grapple with this issue, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offered guidance on which industries and type of workers should be exempted from such restrictive orders.
The DHS says it developed an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” in order to “help State and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”
The DHS left little doubt where it stands on the importance of the trucking industry.
The DHS’s guidance deems as essential: “Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including truck drivers, bus drivers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers that maintain and inspect infrastructure (including those that require cross-jurisdiction travel).”
Further, the DHS added, “Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging, and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.”
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However, the DHS noted that its guidance was not a directive.
“State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are ultimately in charge of implementing and executing response activities in communities under their jurisdiction, while the Federal Government is in a supporting role,” the DHS said.
Check out the DHS’s complete list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” HERE.