March 20, 2020
The Honorable Phil Murphy
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
Dear Governor Murphy,
During this time of crisis, manufacturers in America continue operating while doing everything possible to ensure the health and safety of more than 12.8 million employees, their families and their communities. The country is depending on the many things our members make—from equipment and vehicles needed for our nation’s first responders to items seemingly not critical but very much a part of the supply chain necessary in these uncertain times.
Therefore, I am requesting your support for designating, in our states and localities, all manufacturing facilities, supply chains and their employees as “essential infrastructure” and “essential businesses” to ensure clear, consistent and more uniformly aligned guidance to businesses as our nation responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been many well-intentioned actions to shutter all businesses in certain localities, and the result has unfortunately adversely impacted operations for the supply chain. In addition, we are working with the Pandemic Task Force and the Department of Health and Human Services to survey manufacturers to determine if some factories can be repurposed for critical supplies, and they cannot do so if closed.
It is imperative that governors, states, counties and cities apply similar standards and provide guidance on these orders to clarify “essential infrastructure” and “essential business” so that all manufacturers can continue to provide lifesaving goods and services. Without clear and consistent guidance, there is the potential for devastating consequences that could impact public health, safety and the very livelihoods of the men and women who are proud to work as manufacturers.
To help maintain consistency and effectiveness of state and local declarations and orders, I urge counties, cities and other jurisdictions to expeditiously develop language to define certain essential businesses, at a minimum, as those defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s current guidance critical infrastructure. We are ready and willing to work together to support this effort and appreciate your urgent attention in order to keep manufacturers open and operating safely during this national crisis. Your team can connect with me (MSiekerka@njbia.org) as I am leading our COVID-19 response.
Michele N. Siekerka, Esq.
President & CEO