The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 19 issued a list of 16 sectors – including information technology – that it considers essential during Federal, state, and local government responses to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” said CISA Director Christopher Krebs in an advisory sent to non-Federal government entities.

“Certain critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations,” he said.

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In addition to the IT sector, CISA said the following are classified as essential critical infrastructure:  communications, chemical, critical manufacturing, commercial facilities, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, energy, financial, food and agriculture, government facilities, healthcare, nuclear, transportation systems, and water.


Among a long list of directives to state and local governments, CISA said that workers in those sectors should be “encouraged to work remotely when possible and focus on core business activities.” When continuous remote work is not possible, “businesses should enlist strategies to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease,” including by separating staff through off-setting shift hours, and social distancing.

Operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability include staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and management, CISA said.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.