PIA Requests Print Be Considered Essential Service


'Without doubt, printed and graphic communications are essential in a time of national emergency,' the association said.

On March 19, the Department of Homeland Security’s CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) published guidance to state, local, tribal and territorial jurisdictions and the private sector defining essential critical infrastructure workers imperative to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


That day, the State of Pennsylvania became the first state to lock down all physical businesses not deemed to be “life-sustaining” or “essential.” It is reasonable to assume that other states may follow and will be using the list published by CISA as guidance.


CISA identified “Communications and Information Technology” as a critical sector that must remain functioning during this national emergency. However, in the definition of “Communications,” CISA explicitly left out printed communication as one such essential function. 


According to the PIA, this is unacceptable.


"Without doubt, printed and graphic communications are essential in a time of national emergency. The wide array of print applications is fundamental to seeing our nation through this national health crisis. Community newspapers, printed/mailed government and public health information, directional signs and banners, and packaging of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, and food/consumer products are just a few essential functions of printed communications. Not to mention the critical financial, insurance, and healthcare-related documents that will be needed over the course of this tumultuous situation," the association said.


As of March 20, Printing Industries of America is in communication with the White House, CISA, and leaders on Capitol Hill to immediately correct the guidance on the essential critical workforce to include “print and graphic communications” on this list, as well as to specify the manufacturing, logistics, and warehousing published by CISA to include print and packaging.