Wood products industry identified as essential workforce by U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified the wood products industry as part of an essential workforce in times of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released on March 19, Homeland Security stated that “Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products” as essential.

The list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself.

Other essential workers include healthcare providers, law enforcement and public safety, utility and transportation workers, who are viewed as part of the “overall federal effort to ensure the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure” during the pandemic response.

“This designation underscores the critical role that our more than 3,500 team members play in producing high-quality wood products to aid in the construction of affordable housing, emergency shelters, and healthcare facilities across North America,” said Roseburg president and CEO Grady Mulbery.

At Roseburg’s Weed, California, its veneer facility will continue to operate to support the construction of critical infrastructure projects during the coronavirus pandemic.

While the State of California issued an order directing all individuals living in the State to “stay at home . . . except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors”, the California order took up the federal guidance, which now sets the standard in California for critical infrastructure.

Other states and other jurisdictions may develop their own lists of essential industries and workers who would be excluded from the quarantine orders.