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COVID-19 and Its Effects on Transportation

DOCUMENTATION OF ESSENTIAL WORK FUNCTION

Kansas Farm Bureau has made available a resource that employees may wish to carry with them to help document their essential work function.  This form can be adapted and signed by employers and provided to their employees, and may be useful if an employee comes in contact with an authority that questions their essential function.  That form can be found here

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STATE OF KANSAS ESSENTIAL WORK FUNCTIONS

For a copy of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's Executive Order pertaining to essential functions, which include agricultural transportation operations, click here.  Functions relative to agriculture and listed as essential under Executive Order No. 20-15 include (this is not a complete list):

  • Maintain Supply Chains for Essential Functions and Critical Infrastructure (as defined by DHS)
  • Transport Cargo and Passengers by Rail
  • Transport Cargo and Passengers by Road
  • Produce and Provide Agricultural Products and Services
  • Produce and Provide Human and Animal Food Products and Services

While many, if not all, local jurisdictions issuing stay-at-home orders have exempted these functions, the Executive Order supersedes any local orders that may conflict.  Local issuing authorities must grant—and do not have the discretion to deny—exemptions from the restrictions of any local “stay home” or similar order to requesting companies or other organizations for the performance of essential functions.

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STATE OF KANSAS TRANSPORTATION WAIVERS

For a copy of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's Executive Order pertaining to transportation matters, including the waiver of weight restrictions, click here.  Highlights of Executive Order No. 20-09 include:

  • Motor carriers and persons operating commercial vehicles actively participating in COVID-19 relief and restoration efforts may haul up to 10% more than their licensed weight on Kansas highways, not to exceed 90,000 pounds.
  • The licensing, certification, and permitting rules and regulations as required by the Kansas Corporation Commission are temporarily suspended for motor carriers and persons operating commercial vehicles actively participating in COVID-19 relief or restoration efforts.

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FMCSA TRANSPORTATION WAIVER

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted, until June 30, 2020, a waiver from certain regulations applicable to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and to other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The Agency has initiated this action in response to the President’s declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  A copy of that waiver can be viewed here.  Highlights of this waiver include:

  • an extension for CDLs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, and
  • an extension of the validity of a medical examination and certification, provided that drivers have proof of a valid medical certification that was issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or after March 1, 2020.

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DHA GUIDANCE ON ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

The Department of Homeland Security's CISA office has also issued Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure WorkforceClick here for that document (on mobile devices, scroll down for the text following page headings).  Highlights of that document include:

  • “If 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.” 
  • CISA recognizes that State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are ultimately in charge of implementing and executing response activities in communities under their jurisdiction, while the Federal Government is in a supporting role. 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. Accordingly, this list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself.