March 20, 2020

SOCMA Members:

Mandated closures to nonessential businesses, curfews, and shelter in place orders have begun to proliferate in multiple jurisdictions in response to COVID-19. In the days to come, more aggressive mitigation actions are anticipated.

It is essential that specialty chemical manufacturing sites are able to maintain operations throughout this challenging time, and that federal, state and local governments work together to classify the chemical sector as “critical infrastructure”. Doing so makes clear that your businesses are considered essential and can continue to operate and provide vital life-saving materials during this crisis.

We have compiled the following summary to keep you informed of the most recent government actions affecting business continuity, and to help you petition government officials to exempt your manufacturing sites from any operating restrictions.

Please contact me if SOCMA can provide any case support in preparing exemption requests to your state and local officials. We stand ready to assist you in these difficult times.

Best regards,
President & CEO 
DHS Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has published the memorandum, “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response” to help state and local officials in identifying the critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers needed to maintain services and operational functions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We encourage you to distribute this guidance as broadly as possible. There are sections in the guidance specific to chemicals and other critical market sectors. While the list is advisory in nature and does not hold the force of law, it will be useful in influencing local decision-making on critical infrastructure and ensuring operational continuity at your facilities.
State Orders on Essential and Non-Essential Businesses 
New York has issued guidance to identify essential businesses not subject to the state’s workforce reduction executive order. The production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals are identified in the guidance’s list of essential manufacturing.  READ MORE
California has issued a statewide Executive Order for people to stay at home. The Order references DHS’s “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” guidance to identify sectors deemed essential. In addition, the Order states that the Governor may designate additional sectors as critical.  DOWNLOAD EXECUTIVE ORDER
Pennsylvania has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their physical locations and has released a yes/no list for closures. Chemical operation can continue with the exception of paints, coatings and adhesives. DOWNLOAD LIST
Illinois Governor Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lightfoot have announced a “Shelter-in-Place” order effective beginning Saturday March 21 at 5:00pm through April 7. Specifics regarding critical industries and essential businesses are not yet available. 
Governor Ned Lamont to order all “non-essential” businesses to stay closed for an indefinite time period. Further clarification on what industries are classified as "non-essential" will be forthcoming by the Governor and his staff.
Governor Phil Murphy vowed on Friday to implement more restrictions on New Jersey residents including the shutdown of all “non-essential” businesses. Further clarification on what industries are classified as "non-essential" will be forthcoming by the Governor, with further details likely on Saturday.
SOCMA Letter to State and Federal Governments 
SOCMA has shared a letter with key federal and state government officials to emphasize the importance of the chemical industry during this crisis and the need to maintain continuity of critical operations.

SOCMA Form Letter for Members to Send to Local Officials
SOCMA has prepared a form letter that members can use for petitioning their state and local government officials to designate chemical manufacturing and their business operations as “essential”. 

Essential Personnel Template Letter
SOCMA Member Ashland has generously provided a template letter that can be used to demonstrate proof that an employee has been designated essential and is permitted to travel to and from the manufacturing site. 

SOCMA Guide to Pandemic Plan Framework
SOCMA published a pandemic plan framework for organizations to adopt into existing plans or develop a plan. The document was updated on March 19, 2020.