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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

CISA Releases Version 3.0 of Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19

Today the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released version 3.0 of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers guidance to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID-19. CISA’s original guidance was released on March 19, 2020 and version 2.0 was subsequently released on March 28, 2020.

“CISA continues to work with our partners in the critical infrastructure community to understand what’s needed to keep essential functions and services up and running,” said Christopher Krebs, CISA Director. “Based on feedback we received, we released version 3.0 of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance, which provides clarity around a range of positions needed to support the essential functions laid out in earlier versions. As new or evolving challenges emerge, we are looking at what kind of access, personal protective equipment, and other resources workers need to continue performing essential duties in a safe and healthy way.”

“This guidance is not a federal mandate, and final decisions remain with state and local officials, who must determine how to balance public health and safety with the need to maintain critical infrastructure in their communities,” Krebs continued. “As the Nation’s response to COVID-19 continues to evolve, CISA will work with our partners across government and industry to update this list as needed. At this point, at least 33 states and numerous local jurisdictions have used the guidance in some way – so we’re encouraged that a common national approach is emerging and will continue to make refinements in response to our partners’ requirements.”

Version 3.0 of the guidance clarifies and expands critical infrastructure workers in several categories and provides additional information as considerations for both government and business. Several updates were made to the Healthcare/Public Health category, clarifying worker categories related to health care, public and environmental health, emergency medical services, and aligning related job functions. In all worker categories, references to “employees” or “contractors” were changed to “workers.” Other additions include:

  • Updated language focused on sustained access and freedom of movement;
  • A reference to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on safety for critical infrastructure workers;
  • Language noting the essential role of workers focused on information technology and operational technology;
  • Clearer guidance that sick workers should avoid the job site;
  • A reference to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Safety Information Bulletin on essential maritime workers;
  • Clarified language to include vehicle manufactures; judges and lawyers supporting the judicial system; agricultural jobs; transportation-specific education.

This guidance is intended to support decision makers in communities and jurisdictions across the country during the COVID-19 emergency and it is non-binding.

Read more at CISA

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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