As the COVID-19 pandemic continued its spread across the United States in the second and third weeks of March, numerous states instituted stay-at-home/shelter-in-place orders in efforts to “flatten the curve” and prevent overwhelming the health care infrastructure as well as slow or prevent the spread of the virus. Many of these orders have incorporated or referenced the “Memorandum On Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response” issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 19, and updated on March 28 (CISA Guidelines). The CISA Guidelines provide guidance on what categories of workers and services should be considered “essential” infrastructure workforce that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions (i.e., exempt from the stay-at-home orders).
Many of the states affected by these CISA-based isolation orders are coastal (New York, California, Virginia, Maryland, Louisiana) and/or along the nation’s inland waterways (Illinois, Ohio, Louisiana), and thus vast swathes of the country’s maritime infrastructure are potentially impacted by these orders. While the CISA Guidelines generally include “maritime transportation workers – port workers, mariners, equipment operators” and categories of “petroleum workers,” these categories were fairly broad and open to further interpretation/specification.
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