The outbreak of the coronavirus, known by its technical name of COVID-19, has led to a lot of uncertainty and some scary times. Several states have been put into lockdown, with only essential services being allowed to remain at work.
There is some uncertainty on behalf of the public when it comes to just what those essential services are. And please keep in mind that deeming essential services is clearly not up to the businesses themselves; this is straight from the federal government.
Though the lists could vary slightly from state to state, they are largely the same in terms of what is deemed as “essential services”. This is a general guide as to what businesses are still open for contractors in the quarantined states.
These businesses and organizations are meant to continue to support the infrastructure of the states and cities that they reside in and there are so exceptions. Bars, restaurants, and other establishments that sell food and beverages are encouraged to continue offering food for both deliveries and take out if they follow social distancing protocols.
Otherwise, here is your clear cut list as to what contractors are allowed to continue operating during this time of crisis.
Aside from healthcare and food professionals, Public Works is one of the essential services that each quarantined state needs to continue operating. These can include a number of different things, like maintaining and operating locks, dams, and levees.
It can also include those who maintain bridges and roads, water and sewer mains, construction of critical strategic infrastructure, maintaining traffic signals, maintaining emergency locations for buried utilities, and maintaining the digital infrastructure surrounding public works operations.
There are also a number of contracted vendors that are allowed to continue operating as well. This involves critical work to the public works construction efforts, airport operations, gas, sewer, water, oil refining, nuclear, and other energy services.
There are also solid waste collection and removal, roads and highways, and maintenance and operation of internet and telecommunications systems.
Plumbers, exterminators, electricians, inspectors, and other contractors that are necessary to maintaining sanitation, safety, and essential operation of residences are also permitted to remain open as well.
Building off of that, there is support to ensure the effective storage, removal, and disposal of commercial and residential hazardous and solid waste as well as road and line clearing to ensure that all the businesses in transportation, facilities, energy, and communications can continue to operate efficiently.
Community-Based Essential Functions
On a lower level, there is an allowance for workers to continue building functions at local and state buildings. There is also an allowance of administrative support for inspection services that are responsible for things like escalators, lifts, elevators, plumbing and gas fitting, buildings, electric work and anything related to safety.
Construction workers that are in the support of the operation, construction, maintenance, and inspection of construction sites as well as construction projects are also allowed to remain in operation during this time of crisis.
In essence, any contractors that are working on essential public works or government buildings or projects are allowed to remain at work. This is to ensure that the infrastructure of each town and state is stable to support us all during these times of crisis and lockdown.
Of course, we could not sustain quarantine without the supplies that are essential to situations such as this. Those workers that are necessary for manufacturing products and materials that are necessary to the medical supply chain – the definition of critical these days – will be allowed to continue to produce personal protective equipment as well as hygiene products.
Workers supporting the production of protective cleaning and medical solutions, personal protective equipment, and packaging that prevents the contamination of food, water, medicine, among other essential products.
Workers supporting the operation and maintenance of facilities (particularly those with high-risk chemicals and/or sites that cannot be shut down) whose work cannot be done remotely and requires the presence of highly trained personnel to ensure safe operations, including plant contract workers who provide inspections.
There is also an allowance to continue to produce food and agriculture, nuclear facilities’ maintenance, chemical manufacturing, the operation of dams, water treatment and wastewater treatment facilities, defense industrial base, and emergency services.
Workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including workers at chemical manufacturing plants, workers in laboratories, workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods, including hand sanitizers, food and food additives, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and paper products.
Workers supporting the safe transportation of chemicals, including those supporting tank truck cleaning facilities and workers who manufacture packaging items.
Though we have not reached full shutdown status prohibiting people from leaving their homes, it is highly encouraged that they do not do so. The spread of the virus can only be mitigated with absolute cooperation and teamwork from all of us.
Weathering The Storm for Contractors
These essential services are what will keep our country afloat until things can resume a sense of normalcy. If that is a month from now or six months from now, it remains unclear. The fact is that we need to be vigilant, smart, and patient to ensure that the virus does not spread faster than it already has.
The spread of the COVID-19 virus has made these essential services a necessity for the very survival of towns, cities, and states. With those dedicate workers providing those essential services, we may experience a change in daily life and some disruption from the way that we do things, but we will avoid a collapse in times of uncertainty.
We all work hard to help one another through these tough times as it will take everything we as a society have to get through a pandemic like never before seen. And when we do come out on the other side of this crisis, it will be due to the dedication and essential services that were put into place to keep us going in the toughest of times.