As our nation continues to labor in halting the spread of the coronavirus, states and local governments are promulgating quarantine orders and mandatory business closures. While these steps are considered important public health measures that will help limit the spread of the virus, the term “essential workforce” is easily misunderstood and debated. Functioning critical infrastructure is imperative during the response to the COVID-19 emergency for both public health and safety as well as community well-being. Certain critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations.
This guidance and accompanying list, provided by the Department of Homeland Security, are intended to support State, Local, and industry partners in identifying the critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and that need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Download a PDF version of this guidance, or click on the sectors below for additional information.
16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors
There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof. Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21): PPD-21 identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors.
Defense Industrial Base Sector
Healthcare and Public Health Sector
Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector