TIA Issues Update on “Essential” & “Life-Sustaining” Business Designations in Response to COVID-19

TIA has been working tirelessly over the last few days to review, analyze and disseminate the latest information and guidance in response to the rapidly evolving developments related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global pandemic.

We have been in constant contact with the White House, Congress, and federal and state agencies to ensure that as tighter restrictions are being promulgated, the 3PL industry members are considered “essential” businesses.

We continue to make the case that in order to keep the freight – including food, medical supplies, and other emergency products – needed to combat the outbreak, our members MUST be declared “essential” businesses.

To date, the Governors of California and Pennsylvania have declared a “shelter in place order” for businesses, which includes closing all businesses that are not deemed “essential” in California or “life-sustaining” in Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday, March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsome (D) announced a statewide “stay at home” order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. California is exempting critical infrastructure workers from this order based on guidance released by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Specific to the transportation sector, CISA’s guidance includes the following two provisions that would include our member companies:

  • “Employees supporting or enabling road transportation, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers that maintain and inspect infrastructure.”
  • “Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.”

On Thursday, March 20, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) ordered all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in the state to close their physical locations as of 8:00 PM ET today to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order is silent on teleworking. The Pennsylvania life-sustaining businesses that are permitted to continue operations includes a section on Transportation & Warehousing including:

Support Activities for Transportation

  • Support Activities for Air, Rail, Water & Road Transportation
  • Freight Transportation Arrangement
  • Other Support Activities for Transportation

Obviously, the freight transportation arrangement provision would cover our member companies.

If you encounter any issues with your state, please contact us immediately at advocacy@tianet.org.

TIA has also created an interactive map tracking the latest COVID-19 related transportation developments as they become available.

TIA will continue to do whatever we can to ensure that members can continue to operate their businesses during this tumultuous time. TIA urges everyone to be safe, and if you need anything or have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at advocacy@tianet.org.


TIA is the premier organization for third-party logistics professionals in North America and abroad. Membership at TIA adds value to your business and provides resources for growth.
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