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Composite Panel Industry Navigates State and Provincial COVID-19 Stay-In-Place Orders

CPA members in both the U.S. and Canada have been faced with stay-in-place orders in multiple states and provinces over the past week due to the COVID-19 crisis.  In the U.S., federal guidance from the Department of Homeland Security “Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency” (CISA) importantly listed the wood products industry among a number of others as “essential critical infrastructure workforce” that should be exempt from stay-in-place orders.  The guidance also includes broad language incorporating suppliers to critical industries, which arguably covers a majority of CPA members within the composite panel supply chain. 

A majority of U.S. states have opted to use the federal guidance, which has helped provide a consistent and clear approach for many in the composite panel industry.  Pennsylvania, a notable exception, has developed its own list that initially did not include the same reference to wood products.  Over the past few days, however, CPA has heard that several members have successfully applied to the state for a waiver to the stay-in-place order.  There are still states that have not yet issued stay-in-place orders, but there is a strong indication that most if not all of these remaining states will use the federal guidance. 

In Canada, both Ontario and Quebec were the first provinces to enact stay-in-place orders this week.  Ontario included in its list of essential businesses those that supply forestry products, however Quebec opted to provide only a narrow listing for the pulp and paper industry only.  As a result, mills in Quebec are required to begin an orderly shutdown for the duration of the stay-in-place order, which is slated to last three weeks.  More provinces are likely to follow, with CPA tracking them closely and advocating for an approach similar to the one taken in Ontario.  Moreover, CPA has learned that the Canadian federal government may also be issuing its own list as guidance for provinces going forward.

The pace with which these orders have taken place has been very rapid and with little advance notice.  CPA is a member of the National Association of Manufacturing, which has been closely tracking these developments and actively engaging in support of the CISA federal guidance.  NAM is continually updating state-by-state information, which can be accessed through the following link.  Through this process, CPA has learned that a proactive approach from members is absolutely critical to ensuring continued operations.  With this in mind, CPA consultant David Beaudreau has compiled a list of the key contacts for all fifty states in the event members need to actively engage on a pending stay-in-place order.

CPA will continue to track new developments and support the industry in every way possible during this challenging time.  See U.S. CISA Guidance; Ontario List; Quebec List; and Key Contacts for U.S. States.  More Info: Jackson Morrill

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