Mnuchin backs designating financial sector workers as 'essential'
WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that he supports federal guidance identifying financial services workers as “essential critical infrastructure workers” with a unique responsibility to continue operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
In March 19 guidance, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency labeled 16 sectors as crucial for “both public health and safety as well as community well-being.”
In particular, the agency said financial services workers that provide consumer access to banking and lender services, maintain systems for processing financial transactions and support financial operations are considered essential personnel.
Third-party service providers that deliver core services are also considered essential, said Mnuchin.
“The American people need access to financial sector services, and State and local governments must ensure the continuity of critical financial sector functions,” Mnuchin said in a statement. “We are dedicated to working closely with the financial services sector to ensure the safety of the workforce and continuity of operations to support our Nation’s economy and all hardworking Americans.”
The Trump administration’s guidance said that workers in a designated “critical infrastructure industry” have a “special responsibility” to maintain a normal work schedule as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
“We recognize 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," the DHS guidance said. "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.”