COVID-19 Update: Food Manufacturing Plants and Their Suppliers Are Essential
During the past week, many states and localities have implemented “stay at home” orders for non-essential employees to reduce the spread of the Covid-19.
Additionally, this past Friday, the Dept. of Homeland Security announced that nonessential travel would no longer be permitted between the U.S. and Mexico to contain the virus.
So who determines who is an essential employee and how do these decisions impact the supply of ingredients to food manufacturers?
The good news, is that the Department of Homeland Security gives guidance to states and localities by declaring what businesses are deemed “essential”. This list declares all food manufacturers and transportation companies, and the businesses that support them as essential businesses.
Though the federal government gives states and localities some discretion to determine what businesses are essential, as of today, all states that have implemented restrictions on employee movement have declared all food manufacturers and transportation companies as essential businesses.
We expect this policy to be enforced and as of today, we do not expect any interruptions to keeping our customers supplied.
In other words, business as usual during a very unusual time.
However, every day brings new announcements and state and local jurisdictions vary greatly, so we want to keep you current about the decisions being made at the federal, state and local level with the understanding that restrictions are subject to changing rapidly:
Fairless Hills, PA
The State of Pennsylvania has implemented a very strict stay-at-home order. However, the order allows all food manufacturing, and water, rail and truck transportation businesses to continue physical operations. It also waives restrictions for the entities that support these businesses.
Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order on Sunday mandating businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning at midnight CDT on Monday, March 23, until midnight CDT April 6. Businesses affected were limited to restaurants, bars and gyms.
Governor Northam told Virginians to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people, per federal guidelines. This ruling does not include normal operations at essential services such as manufacturers, distribution centers, airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, grocery stores, or pharmacies.
There are no further restrictions in place at this time.
Forth Worth, TX
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said over the weekend that local authorities will make the best decision for their communities, and has so far resisted statewide closures.
In response to the rising number of positive cases, the mayor of Fort Worth acted locally and announced a “Disaster Declaration for Covid-19” that shuts down all non-essential businesses and bans large gatherings but allows for transportation systems, manufacturing and distribution facilities to remain open, but they must enforce social separation. These rules went into effect this past Saturday.
El Paso, TX/Juarez, MX
The El Paso Health Department issued a directive to keep employees safe at work with suggestions regarding social distancing, staggered work hours, regular health checks and increased sanitation. No stay-at-home policies are currently in place.
U.S. - Mexico Border Restrictions
The U.S. and Mexico agreed to restrict all non-essential travel at the borders in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. This includes the ports of entry in the El Paso/Juárez area. It went into effect at midnight on March 21, 2020.
“Non-essential” travel that is restricted includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. Trips that won't be affected by new restrictions include commercial activities, cargo transport, pharmaceutical purchases and emergency services. People who live in Mexico and are authorized to work in the U.S. will be able to cross.
Sugaright Continues to Implement Proactive Health and Safety Measures
Last week, we notified you of the actions being taken at our CSC Sugar Headquarters and Sugaright Refineries to keep our employees safe and to minimize risk of supply chain disruptions.
We are happy to announce that our efforts to date have been successful, and all of our facilities are operating normally.
Please follow the directives of our federal government required to minimize the spread of COVID-19 so we all stay safe.
We are all in this together.