Next Steps: Declaring Industry Businesses “Essential”

Next Steps: Declaring Industry Businesses “Essential”

Ed Orlet, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Strategic Projects at NAED, shares the following information with our readers:

Thank you for your overwhelming response to the electrical industry’s efforts at recognizing our role as essential businesses. Many of you have asked about next steps.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidelines on the identification of essential businesses during the COVID-19 response. It is available here. 

Please note that we have been advised that CISA will be issuing updated guidance in the near future. It is our understanding that this updated guidance will further clarify many job categories that CISA deems essential businesses. In the interim, many state and local jurisdictions are adopting “essential business” orders that may differ from the CISA guidelines. On a positive note, most local orders we have seen specifically designate wholesalers as essential businesses—but it is critical that you know and operate in accordance with the specifics of the orders governing your trading areas.

The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) has provided a template for a letter you may consider personalizing and equipping your employees with. According to NAW, “it is important to note that these critical truck drivers and workers should have a hard copy of this document with them at all times when working. Please be aware that this letter is self-certifying and not an official federal document. You should review any document that you provide to your employees with your own counsel.”

If you have questions about any local orders, we’re happy to help you navigate them. Call Ed Orlet at NAED at 636.448.6712 or email 

Also, CISA has asked for specific examples of member companies that are deemed essential that have had difficulty delivering their goods into areas with restricted access. Let us know if your employees have experienced any situations in which they have been turned away due to a state or local ordinance.

NAED’s government relations team will host an informal Zoom hangout Wednesday, March 25 at 3:30 EDT. Please join us with your questions and to discuss how your company is weathering these unprecedented challenges. There is no charge to participate. Sign up here:

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