FEMA – CISA Releases Version 3.0 of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers List

April 17, 2020

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released Version 3.0 of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers list. 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. Also included is 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 workforce. 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 manufacture; and many other small changes to clarify language.

CISA issued initial guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers on March 19, which was developed to help state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities as they decide who to allow freedom of movement in areas that are under restrictions such as shelter-in-place or quarantine. That initial guidance was developed with input from our government and industry partners, on the assumption that we would need to update the guidance as we received additional feedback from stakeholders.

CISA moved quickly to incorporate feedback to update the list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers to expand and specify additional categories of essential workers who are key to maintaining a community’s safety, public health, and economy. These changes were included in Version 2.0 of this guidance, released March 28, generally represented minor clarifications or additions that did not shift the overall scoping of critical infrastructure activity as highlighted in the initial release. Specifically, clarity was provided around a range of supporting and enabling activity for infrastructure resilience – the commodity, services, and logistical supply chains of other infrastructure functions. This included more direct call outs for essential sanitation and hygiene production and services, as well as manufacturing of critical products.

The Guide continues to be a resource for state and local decision makers and is in no way a binding document. Ultimately, all final decisions rest with state and local authorities, who must use their own judgment to balance public health and safety with the need to maintain critical infrastructure.

The degree to which state and local orders have leveraged our guidance when defining essential workers is encouraging. A common national picture will ultimately benefit us all. We hope this updated Guide helps as your communities grapple with the impacts of COVID-19. Please direct any questions to CISA.CAT@cisa.dhs.gov.