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COVID-19 Pandemic Update ​on Preparing for Shelter In Place

March 19, 2020

As we all collectively work on our planning and preparation to respond to the pandemic to keep our businesses, employees, friends, and families safe, we must all be aware of the potential for a shelter-in-place order, similar to the one currently in place in Northern California. Recently, San Miguel County in Southern Colorado issued its own shelter-in-place directive, the first county-wide shelter-in-place directive in Colorado.

Please note that the existing shelter-in-place orders exempt essential employees. The Northern California order states "individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of 'Essential Infrastructure,' including, but not limited to, public works construction, construction of housing (in particular affordable housing or housing for individuals experiencing homelessness), airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services), provided that they carry out those services or that work in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, to the extent possible."

Similarly, the San Miguel Order exempts a large category of activities associated with "Essential Businesses" (See Order at page 7). Given the increasing likelihood that a shelter-in-place order will be issued by the federal government, please be aware that the following industries and key resources have assets and infrastructure that are considered “critical infrastructure” pursuant to Presidential Policy Directive 21 and will have some level of exemption.

These industries are:

1. Chemical
2. Commercial facilities
3. Communications
4. Critical manufacturing
5. Dams
6. Defense industrial base
7. Emergency services
8. Energy
9. Financial services
10. Food and agriculture
11. Government facilities
12. Healthcare and public health
13. Information technology
14. Nuclear reactors, materials, and waste
15. Transportation systems
16. Water and wastewater systems

Each of these industries (and other business sectors that support them) has a vital role to play in keeping the nation’s infrastructure functioning during a pandemic.

Despite the lack of coverage in the media, planning for a pandemic has been in the works for years, and industry sector planning guides are available. For example, the see Oil and Natural Gas Sub-Sector Pandemic Guideline here.

OSHA has been hard at work and has developed a guide for Preparing the Workplace for COVID-19, and that guide can be found here.

We at DGS are here to help your business succeed and to keep our community and employees safe during these challenging times. Please feel free to reach out to us if we can assist in any way, from a safe distance of at least six feet away.

Please contact a DGS partner if you have any questions or if we can assist you with any legal needs.