U.S. DHS CISA Declares Medical Gases and Other CGA Member Activities “Essential” to COVID-19 Response

Updated: May 22, 2020

On March 18, 2020 (updated April 28, 2020), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 as a part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DHS also published the related Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce on March 19, 2020 (updated May 19, 2020).

In this guidance, DHS provides a list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers…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.”

DHS defines “Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of … medical gases” as “essential.” Other CGA member activities are also identified as essential in the CISA guidance, such as food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees (including those employed in food ingredient production and processing facilities), workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, and workers necessary for the manufacturing of metals (including steel and aluminum), industrial minerals, semiconductors, materials and products needed for medical supply chains, and for supply chains associated with transportation, energy, communications, information technology, food and agriculture, and chemical manufacturing.

CGA maintains that any U.S. state or local quarantine or shelter-in-place declarations should rely on the CISA guidance and include medical gas workers and other workers identified as “essential” to the response to COVID-19.

On March 25, 2020, CGA was a signatory to a broad industry letter sent to U.S. government officials, supporting a consistent definition of “critical infrastructure” across all jurisdictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 111 industry groups signed on to this letter, representing nearly the entire U.S. economy. The letter was delivered to the White House, DHS CISA, and governors and mayors across the country.