March-April 2020

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12 PalletCentral • March-April 2020 POLICY PLAY AT W e know that Americans everywhere, and the world, are collectively combating the COVID-19 pandemic. This global effort spans across all levels of government, countries, and industries. In times of crisis, essential services, and the industries that support them become abundantly clear. On March 16th, the President of the United States issued updated Coronavirus guidance for America that emphasized the significance of the situation and highlighted the importance of the critical infrastructure workforce. The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also released guidance that reinforced the message. On March 19th, CISA declared the wooden pallet and container sector as health and safety as well as community well-being. Certain critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations." To be successful in this period of social distancing, Americans must maintain access to critical goods and services. The continued movement of freight through our integrated supply chain is paramount. The NWPCA has outlined in many communications for members and their workers to follow recent guidance issued by CISA. Federal officials, governors, state, county, and city officials are also referencing the CISA directive as they consider "essential workers" throughout their communities. They note, "maintaining normal freight operations with precautions will be essential to restoring economic activity and ensuring shelves stay stocked to prevent true shortages and disruptions of far more than toilet paper." The CISA guidance calls for the work of "Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers," including freight railroad employees, to continue alongside healthcare workers, first responders, critical manufacturers, and more." This includes those in the pallet industry and the industries that support the manufacturing of pallets, sawmills, blade manufacturers, fasteners, and the transportation sector. If there was any doubt of the importance of the wood packaging industry to America, there is none now. This is for a good reason. Without our supply chain logistics sector – trucks, railroads, warehousing – the U.S. economy, which is already on shaky ground, simply cannot function. Pallet Manufacturers and Their Employees: The Unsung Heroes Battling the COVID-19 Pandemic By Patrick Atagi "Critical Infrastructure." One of the critical updates to the CISA guidance is additional language to ensure the transportation supply chain is included within the scope of the directive. Under Transportation and Logistics, the new language broadens the coverage for critical industries that make up the supply chain, and it specifically includes pallets: Manufacturers and distributors (to include service centers and related operations) of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging, and distribution operations. CISA further noted in its memorandum that, "Functioning critical infrastructure is imperative during the response to the COVID-19 emergency for both public

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