The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified the wood products industry as an essential critical infrastructure workforce in the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Homeland Security designated “Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products” as essential.

Healthcare providers, law enforcement and public safety, and utility and transportation workers were also deemed to be essential. These workers are 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,” Roseburg president and CEO Grady Mulbery said. “Our industry will continue to support the supply chain of materials critical to response and recovery efforts.”

Although the federal guidance is advisory only, on March 19, 2020, 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 adopted the federal guidance, which now sets the standard in California for critical infrastructure. Other orders are in effect or anticipated in New York, Illinois and other states.

Roseburg’s Weed, California, veneer facility will continue to operate as part of their efforts to supply critical building products during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other states and other jurisdictions may develop their own lists of essential industries and workers who would be excluded from broad shelter in place or similar quarantine orders.

Karl D. Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at karl.forth@woodworkingnetwork.com.