Provide Employees with an “Essential Business” Letter

Are you running an essential business?  Many aviation businesses – including those that distribute aircraft parts – are part of the federal critical infrastructure.

If you are remaining open as part of the federal critical infrastructure, then you need some of your essential employees to be able to do their work.  Some may be able to telework, but some employees, like warehouse staff, cannot do their jobs without being physically present.  Under most state “stay-at-home” laws, those essential employees who are necessary to the operations of an essential business are permitted to leave the homes to go to work.

Some states have recommended that these employees get letters to verify their status.  We are now advising all essential employers to provide verification letters to the essential employees who must travel to work.

If you issue employee identification badges, then you may wish to tie the letter to an employee identification on the badge and require the employee to carry the badge with the letter when traveling between work and home.

 

[BUSINESS LETTERHEAD]

 

This letter is provided as evidence that the named employee is an employee of [COMPANY NAME].  [COMPANY NAME] is an essential business under state law and a part of the critical federal infrastructure, and is continuing to operate until further notice.  This employee is permitted under the terms of the Executive Order to travel to and from work.  If you have questions related to this designation, then please communicate with the Business Contact listed below.

EMPLOYEE NAME:

 

BUSINESS CONTACT

 

Name:   _______________________

Title:      _______________________

Phone: _______________________

Email:    _______________________

Stay-at-Home Laws: How Do They Affect Aviation?

A number of states have issued “stay-at-home” orders in response to Covid-19.  Generally these laws and executive orders require residents of the state to remain in their residences.  They frequently allow residents to leave for jobs that are considered to be essential.  This article is not meant to summarize all of the details of the orders; rather it provides links to the orders with a summary of the most relevant exceptions that apply to the aviation industry.

We have already provided some guidance on how to interpret such laws in an earlier article.  Generally speaking, if your business is permitted to remain open then social distancing, enhanced sanitation practices and teleworking for personnel who can telework are expected.

The CISA standards have been updated to a 2.0 standard.  These more explicitly define companies that are needed to support aviation as part of the federal critical infrastructure, including (for example) the following text:

Workers who support the operation, distribution, maintenance, and sanitation, of air transportation for cargo and passengers, including flight crews, maintenance, airport operations, those responsible for cleaning and disinfection, and other on-and off-airport facilities workers.

Essential businesses that remain open are encouraged to provide letters to their essential employees to verify their status.  Such letters may need to be shared with law enforcement to justify transit during a “stay-at-home” executive order.

We will try to keep up with the changes to the best of our ability.  Aviation industry members who notice changes are encourage to share those changes with us so we can update this table.

Updated as of 04/06/2020.

State Order Duration Notes relevant to aviation
Alabama Stay-at-Home (4/3/2020) 4/4 – 4/30 Individuals may leave their residence for essential activities including support of the federal critical infrastructure sectors under the CISA standards (which includes aviation).  Aviation infrastructure operations and aerospace/defense manufacturing are also explicitly called-out as essential activities.

Updated as of April 5, 2020

Alaska
Anchorage
EO-03 3/22 – 3/31 The following Critical Businesses may operate (each of these bullets remains subject to other initiatives, like the closure of restaurants and the requirements for social distancing):

  • Airport operations
  • Businesses that provide transportation for goods or persons (including airlines)
  • Defense and national security related operations
  • Businesses that supply other critical businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate (including aviation supply chain)

Updated as of 3/23/2020.

California EO N-33-20 3/19 – UFN Individuals may leave their residence for necessary tasks to support federal critical infrastructure sectors under the CISA standards (which includes aviation)

Updated as of 3/22/2020.

Colorado D2020-13 3/22 – 4/10 NOT a stay-at-home order, but except for exempt businesses, all businesses must reduce in-person employees by 50%.  Exempt businesses are defined by CDPHE and include:

  • Airlines
  • Warehouses/distribution

Updated as of 3/24/2020.

Colorado,
Denver
Stay At Home 3/24 – 4/10 Individuals may leave their residences to work to provide any services or perform any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of Airports and passenger and cargo operations (“essential businesses”).  This also includes businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate (see also Colorado).  This should include the commercial aviation supply chain.

Updated as of 3/24/2020.

Florida EO 20-91 4/3-4/30 Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County and Monroe County shall restrict public access to businesses and facilities deemed non-essential pursuant to the guidelines established by Miami-Dade County pursuant to its March 19, 2020 Emergency Order 07-20 as amended.  Businesses covered under CISA standards are also essential (which includes aviation).

See Miami-Dade, below, for specifications.

Clarified by EO 20-92 to supersede conflicting local ordinances

Updated as of 4/5/2020.

Florida,
Miami-Dade
County
EO 07-20

EO 07-20 amd 1

EO 07-20 amd 2

3/19 – 4/9 The following Essential Businesses may operate (each of these bullets remains subject to other initiatives, like the closure of restaurants and the requirements for social distancing):

  • Airlines
  • Businesses operating at any airport
  • Manufacturers
  • Logistics suppliers including warehouses
  • Any business that is interacting with customers solely through electronic or telephonic means, and supplying goods only through mailing, shipping or delivery services

Updated as of 4/5/2020.

Florida,
Broward
County
BCA EO 20-01 3/23 – UFN The following Essential Businesses may operate (each of these bullets remains subject to other initiatives, like the closure of restaurants and the requirements for social distancing):

  • Airlines
  • Businesses operating at an airport
  • Manufacturing, distribution, logistics, warehouses and supply chain for essential businesses
  • Any business that employs five (5) or fewer persons where the employees do not come into regular contact with the general public in the regular course of business

Updated as of 3/23/2020.

Illinois EO 20-10 3/21 – 4/07 Individuals may leave their residence for essential services, including (but not limited to):

  • Airlines
  • Airports
  • Transportation for essential activities (defined in the order)
  • Manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain for the above

Updated as of 3/22/2020.

Michigan EO 20-21 3/21 – 4/13 or UFN (ambig.) Individuals may leave their residence for necessary tasks to support federal critical infrastructure sectors under the CISA standards (which includes aviation).  The individuals must be designated by their employers as critical infrastructure workers.   A federal critical infrastructure sector business may also designate additional suppliers, distribution centers, and service providers necessary to support its operations.

Updated as of 4/05/2020.

New Jersey EO 107 3/21 – UFN All businesses must accommodate telework, and to the extent telework is not feasible they must reduce staff-on-site to the minimal number necessary.  Warehouse workers and repair workers are listed as examples of employees who must be on-site to do their jobs.

Updated as of 3/22/2020.

New York 202.6

202.7

202.8

essential” guidance

3/22 – 4/19 Businesses must maximize telecommuting and 100% eliminate in-person workforce.  Exceptions for “essential” businesses extend to:

  • airports and airlines
  • warehousing and distribution (“essential services”) needed to provide for the safety of the public (e.g. approved aircraft parts which are regulated under the federal government’s safety regulations)
  • defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government

Aviation manufacturing and repair are not explicitly included in the guidance; but other business may request an exemption from the state (right now this needs to be done on a business-by-business basis … we already examined whether we could apply for the whole aviation supply chain industry)

Updated as of 3/22/2020.

Ohio DoH Order 3/23 – 4/06 Individuals may leave their residence for Essential Activities including to support federal critical infrastructure sectors under the CISA standards (which includes aviation)

Updated as of 3/22/2020.

Texas GA 08 3/20 – 4/3 NOT a stay-at-home order; “This executive order does not mandate sheltering in place  All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.”  Aviation remains unrestricted.Updated as of 3/24/2020.
Virginia EO 53 (2020) 3/23 – UFN Closes non-essential retail businesses but should not affect aviation supply chain businesses.

Updated as of 3/23/2020.

Washington 20-13

20-14

3/16 – 3/31 It appears that non-retail aviation businesses are currently permitted to operate (see proclamations).  Gatherings are prohibited (with an exception for gatherings under 50 persons that have a plan for social distancing).  Retail operations are prohibited (unless they have a plan for social distancing).

Updated as of 3/22/2020.

Key to Abbreviations

UFN – Until Further Notice

Is my Business Part of the Critical Infrastructure? [Does the California “Stay-Home” Order Apply to Aircraft Parts Distributors?]

Yesterday, California ordered its residents to stay at home in response to Covid-19.  That order provided an exception for person who are needed to “maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”  But this raises questions in the minds of many in the ASA community: are we needed to “maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors?”  Or, more succinctly, which aviation businesses are excepted from the “stay-home” rules in California?

It is likely that other states will follow this model, providing an exception to “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” rules for people who are necessary to the critical infrastructure sectors identified by the federal government.

The federal government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors.  One of these is “Transportation and Logistics.”  There is not a precise definition of who is covered under this list- instead it offers a list of examples.  The critical infrastructure sectors examples clearly include:

  • Those who repair and maintain aircraft (repair stations and maintenance personnel)
  • Air transportation employees, including air traffic controllers, ramp personnel, aviation security, and aviation management
  • Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for transportation
  • 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
  • Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging, and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use

The “air transportation employees” category is a bit vague, but other listed provisions can help interpret this language as it applies to aircraft parts distributors.

One of the categories listed is “Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging, and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.”  This is clearly meant to include those who offer logistics services for goods, but the logic of this category could be applied to aircraft parts distributors as well.  If distributors of groceries are included in the critical infrastructure list, then those who are distributing the parts needed to keep aircraft flying are likely included as well.

Another provision that should influence our analysis (indirectly) is the fact that manufacturers and distributors of packing materials are part of the critical infrastructure because they enable distribution operations.  This seems to suggest that distribution operations are part of the critical infrastructure.

CISA makes it clear that the critical infrastructure focus is on maintaining the businesses and services that enable continued economic and social vitality.  There is a focus on critical functions.  This is not focused on maintaining business as usual.  So it is likely that many aircraft parts distributors are part of the critical infrastructure, but not all of their functions will be considered critical.

  • The AOG desk is likely going to be critical
  • Sales contacts that allow needed aircraft parts to be identified and supplied will probably be likewise critical
  • Anyone who is picking aircraft parts from a warehouse is similarly likely to be considered critical
  • Anyone who is shipping those aircraft parts is similarly likely to be considered critical

The distributor’s marketing department is probably not part of the critical infrastructure.  And I hate to say it, but the legal department may not be part of the critical infrastructure, either.

Ultimately, each business must examine its role in the transportation marketplace to identify whether it serves a role as part of the critical infrastructure.  One way to pose the question would be to ask “If we all stopped performing the function that I perform, then would this ground aircraft in America?  If the answer is “yes,” then you are probably part of the critical transportation and logistics infrastructure.

Here are some shortcuts questions for aircraft parts distributors:

  • Do you have an AOG desk?  If the answer is “yes” then they likely remain critical, and the support structure necessary to permit them to support aircraft is also critical.
  • If you stop supplying aircraft parts (or other goods) then could one or more cargo transportation aircraft be grounded?  If the answer is “yes” then the personnel necessary to support aircraft are critical.  Remember this also includes general aviation cargo aircraft!
  • If you stop supplying aircraft parts (or other goods) then could one or more passenger aircraft be grounded?  If the answer is “yes” then the personnel necessary to support aircraft are critical.  Remember this also includes special purpose aircraft like medical evacuation aircraft, law enforcement aircraft, etc.
  • Do you have hazmat-trained shippers?  If the answer is “yes” then they are also critical because hazmat personnel are also considered to be part of the critical infrastructure (but if you stop shipping then obviously these personnel may stop being critical for your operation).
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