US Department of Homeland Security Says Blockchain Managers Working in Food Distribution are Essential “Critical Infrastructure Workers” During Coronavirus Outbreak

Certain Financial Services Workers Critical as Well

The US Department of Homeland Security, a cabinet department of the US federal government tasked with maintaining public security (somewhat comparable to the interior ministries of other nations), has notably included “blockchain managers” in food and agriculture distribution as important critical Infrastructure workers.

As stated in a memo by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA),  which focuses on how to handle the Coronavirus outbreak:

“[I]f you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

The memo, published on March 19, 2020, notes:

“Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers (are workers supporting critical infrastructure).”

Additionally, certain financial services workers are deemed critical:

  • Workers who are needed to process and maintain systems for processing financial transactions and services (e.g., payment, clearing, and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; and capital markets activities).
  • Workers who are needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and to move currency and payments (e.g., armored cash carriers)
  • Workers who support financial operations, such as those staffing data and security operations centers

The notice adds that the list was created after consulting with federal agency partners, various industry experts and professionals, and State and local workers.

The memo said that the CISA would continue to solicit and take feedback on the published list and aims to update the list after receiving responses from stakeholders.

The memo clarifies the CISA recognizes that State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are  responsible for “implementing and executing response activities in communities under their jurisdiction, while the Federal Government is in a supporting role.”

It adds:

“As State and local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, CISA is offering this list to assist prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response, including the appropriate movement of critical infrastructure workers within and between jurisdictions.”

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