COVID-19AEM recognizes the immense impact that the current COVID-19 pandemic is having on our member companies, your employees, suppliers and customers, as well as partner sectors such as agriculture and construction. Our top priority is focused on ensuring the health and safety of our member companies, their employees, our staff, and our partners.

AEM is working closely with the U.S. Congress, the White House, U.S. government agencies, and state and local officials to make sure they take immediate steps to contain the spread of COVID-19, support equipment manufacturers and their employees, and ensure the country’s economic resilience. As this rapidly developing crisis unfolds, we will share timely updates on our actions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our member companies and provide opportunities for equipment manufacturers to share their experiences, provide their perspectives, and guide the actions of federal, state, and local elected officials.

AEM will send regular updates so that our member companies have easy access to the most recent information and are up to date on how AEM is leading the efforts on behalf of our industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional information and resources are available at www.aem.org/covid-19-information-and-resources/.

Here are some of the latest developments:

Federal Government Designates Equipment Manufacturing as “Critical” or “Essential”

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued an initial guidance on “Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response.” At the urging of AEM, the initial guidance ensures that “employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution” is included in the initial list released on March 19.

However, this initial guidance largely left the decision on which industries and businesses should be deemed essential up to state and local officials. This is why today AEM sent a letter to the President requesting that the federal government designate equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and dealers as “essential” and providing state and local jurisdictions with a clear and consistent federal directive moving forward.

AEM Calls for Financial Assistance for Equipment Manufacturers

AEM has called on Congress to provide liquidity to equipment manufacturers struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to Congressional leaders, AEM calls for a federal fund of grants and loans to provide much needed liquidity to equipment manufacturers, as well as a voluntary federal program that would provide equipment manufacturers with the flexibility to retain employees at reduced hours. AEM will also continue to work with Congress on a series of additional policy recommendations for how to strengthen the economic recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Relief Packages

Senate Republican and Democrats, joined by Senior Trump administration officials, continue to negotiate a massive $1 trillion-plus bill to rescue the U.S. economy from the growing coronavirus crisis. AEM is in close contact with the White House and key members of Congress to ensure that the final bill includes provisions that protect AEM’s more than 1,000 member companies and the 2.8 million men and women of the industry and ensures their financial security.

The first emergency funding bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Trump allocated roughly $8 billion for in new funding to combat the spread of COVID-19 at the local, state, national, and international levels. The second emergency aid package, which was a response to the growing health and economic crises, seeks to make testing for the coronavirus free to the public, establishes a federal emergency paid-leave benefits program to provide payments to some employees, boosts unemployment benefits, and provides access to meals for those without food security, among other provisions.

AEM Urges President Trump to Suspend Tariffs

In a letter to President Trump, AEM joined more than 160 trade associations and business groups in urging him to provide immediate tariff relief. The letter asks President Trump to suspend the additional tariffs placed on certain imports under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. Additionally, AEM staff submitted a list of trade policy recommendations to the Senate Finance Committee. The feedback so far has been positive, and AEM staff is working closely with Committee staff to make sure they are included in future legislative relief packages or acted upon in the form of stand-alone bills.

AEM Calls for Increased Infrastructure Investment to Resuscitate the U.S. Economy

AEM and the other members of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Minority Leader McCarthy (Calif.) urging them to take immediate action on surface transportation reauthorization in order to stabilize and resuscitate the U.S. economy during this time of crisis. AEM also joined the members of the Beyond the Runway Coalition and other trade associations and industry groups in letters to Congressional leadership calling for an immediate infusion of capital to help meet airport needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and an additional $10 billion in Airport Improvement Grants (AIP) to help continue airport capital projects and programs that are currently under way.

AEM Highlights the Need to Maintain a Steady Supply of Food, Fiber, Feed, and Fuel

To help address and mitigate any negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agriculture economy, AEM has been working closely with the United States Department of Agriculture on a series of policy recommendations that recognize the importance of equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service to the U.S. food supply chain. To that end, and at the suggestion of AEM, Secretary Perdue emphasized the role that our industry plays in the U.S. food supply chain in a video message released last week. AEM also joined commodity groups and other stakeholders in a letter to President Trump asking that any actions taken in response to COVID-19 take into consideration the impact on American agriculture.

AEM Calls on Governors to Allow Equipment Manufacturers to Continue to Operate

AEM continues to emphasize the critical role that the industry plays in ensuring the health and economic well-being across the country, and has called on governors to designate the industry as “essential” and allow equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors to continue to operate. AEM led letters sent to all 50 governors making the case that “at a time when farmers are preparing for a new planting season, contractors are looking to build and maintain critical infrastructure assets, and utilities are working to keep homes and hospitals powered, we have an obligation to ensure that they have access to the equipment and parts, as well as the repair and maintenance services, they need to perform these functions.” AEM also joined Associated Equipment Distributors in a letter to the leaders of the National League of Cities and the Conference of Mayors emphasizing the significant impact the industry has on the economic vitality of communities.

Small Business Disaster Loans from U.S. Small Business Administration

Many governors have requested designations from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Declaration in order to access the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Once granted, the SBA will provide long-term, low-interest loans to qualifying businesses across a state. AEM is in touch with the SBA to emphasize the immediate and long-term economic harm caused by the COVID-19 on equipment manufacturers, and urge them to extend financial relief to any state that requests it. More information, including how to apply for a low-interest loan due to the COVID-19 pandemic is available here.

Update on Activities in the States

As more states issue and revise emergency orders to stop the spread of COVID-19, AEM is in daily contact with lawmakers to emphasize the essential role that equipment manufacturers play in the states.

Below is an update on the most recent developments:

Connecticut

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has ordered all residents to shelter in place, and all non-essential businesses to fully telework or close entirely, effective Monday, March 23 at 8:00pm ET. Governor Lamont adopted the Department of Homeland Security CISA guidelines on “essential businesses” and explicitly included critical manufacturing, both industrial and agriculture, and construction. For additional information please see DHS’s CISA guidelines on critical infrastructure. The Governor’s office has provided an online form for businesses to apply for a waiver.

Delaware

Governor John Carney ordered all residents to stay in place and all non-essential businesses to close, effective March 24, 2020 at 8:00am EDT. While the order does not directly follow DHS’s CISA guidance, it closely mirrors it. The order provides broad exemptions for all manufacturers of “materials, goods, products, or similar distribution,” and their workers. For more information, the Governor’s office also published a detailed list of businesses that are allowed to continue.

Idaho

Idaho Governor Brad Little announced Idaho would be adopting the Federal guidelines on preventing the spread of COVID-19, including the recommendation that all workers are recommended to work from home, unless they work in a critical infrastructure industry.

Illinois

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker ordered has all residents to stay at home and all non-essential business to close starting Saturday, March 21 at 5:00pm CT close until April 20, 2020. The order provides broad exemptions for essential infrastructure items (including food production and construction) and essential business to allow them to continue to operate. The order is explicitly left broad to avoid unnecessary impacts.

The order allows individuals who are providing and work for essential infrastructure to continue to work. This includes (but not limited to) individuals in the construction, roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation space. Governor Pritzker deems allowing manufacturing companies, their distributors, and supply chain companies as essential, and may continue to work. While the order identifies a number of industries, such as agriculture, steel & steel products, mining, and construction, it does not explicitly exclude other industries. 

Louisiana

Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards ordered all residents to stay at home, and all non-essential businesses to close, effective, March 23, 2020 at 5:00pm. The order also prohibits all mass gatherings of more than 10 people, however explicitly exempts factories or manufacturing facilities. The order allows individuals to go and preform essential work as stated in DHS’s CISA guidelines. Finally, the order requires businesses to reduce their operations to minimal amounts necessary, if not required to close and not designated essential by CISA.

Nevada

Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all non-essential businesses to close, effective March 20, at 11:59pm PT until April 16, 2020. The order allows certain “essential licenses businesses” to continue operate so long as they follow CDC COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines. The order explicitly allows the construction, mining, manufacturing, and infrastructure sector labor force to continue to operate (Section 6). The order also adopts DHS’s CISA’s guidance on exempting critical infrastructure workforce.

New Jersey

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered (Executive Order No. 107) all residents to stay home, unless reporting to work, and the closure of all non-essential retail businesses, effective Saturday, March 21 at 9:00pm ET.  While the order requires businesses to allow their employees to telework, in cases where their workforce cannot, businesses should reduce their in-person workforce to minimal amounts necessary. The order provides example of employees that need to be present to perform their job, including, but not limited to, construction workers. Governor Murphy also invalidated (Executive Order No. 108) any county or municipal restrictions that currently or in the future may conflict with Executive Order No. 107.

New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a new order requiring all non-essential businesses to fully telework, with the exemption of businesses deemed essential, by Sunday, March 22, at 8:00pm ET. The New York Empire State Development has issued guidance on what business are considered “essential,” including a number of manufactures, including agriculture / farms, and construction for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes. AEM is in communication with the state and has learned that individual businesses can complete the online form and request a designation as an essential business.

North Dakota

Montana Governor Steve Bullock has announced the closure of dine-in restaurants and businesses to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. AEM is working directly with the Governor’s office to highlight the critical role equipment manufacturers play in Montana.

Ohio

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered all residents to stay at home and closure of all non-essential businesses, starting 11:59pm on March 23, 2020, until April 6, 2020. Governor DeWine adopted the Department of Homeland Security CISA guidelines on “essential businesses” and explicitly included critical manufacturing, both industrial and agriculture, and construction. For additional information please see DHS’s CISA guidelines on critical infrastructure. 

Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf announced a delay in the enforcement of his earlier closure order until Monday, March 23, at 8:00am. Per Governor Wolf’s earlier order, businesses that were non-life sustaining were ordered to close their physical locations on March 19, at 8:00pm ET. Governor Wolf and the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) continues to issue updated guidance on what businesses are essential. AEM continues to be in constant contact with the Governor’s office to ensure our members are defined as essential. The Governor’s office has provided an online form for business’s to apply for a waiver.

For more information, visit www.aem.org/covid-19-information-and-resources/ and subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor 

 

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