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Federal agency says bike repair workers are essential

Published March 30, 2020
Many jurisdictions are allowing shops to stay open, but in about a dozen states it's still unclear whether shops can operate.

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — While it doesn't have the force of law, an advisory from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued should encourage local jurisdictions to consider bike repair workers essential during the COVID-19 response. 

Most, but not all, states and local jurisdictions that have shelter-in-place or similar orders make exceptions for bike shops. Some areas, such as New Jersey, specify that only bike service is considered essential, not regular sales.

PeopleForBikes is maintaining a spreadsheet of state COVID-19 closures that lists a dozen states where it's unclear whether bike shops can continue operations. In many of the same states it's also unclear whether bike wholesalers are allowed to stay open.

The DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency advisory memorandum, issued Saturday, specifies that workers supporting transportation services, including bicycle maintenance, should be considered essential. 

In a letter accompanying the memo, CISA director Christopher C. Krebs notes that it is "advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard."

In a dozen states, it's unclear whether bike shops can continue operations

However, PeopleForBikes, which lobbied for the addition of bike service to the memo, said some state and local orders have already specifically cited this guidance.

PeopleForBikes is advising bike shops to check local laws and ordinances to be sure they are allowed to operate. It also advised retailers to consult the CDC's advice to businesses and employers who choose to operate during the pandemic. 

"We know this is a difficult time for all bike businesses," PeopleForBikes said. "You are best equipped to gauge the best interests of your company, your employees, your customers and your community as you decide whether your business should remain open."

The organization has a COVID-19 resource page with other information for businesses. 

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Topics associated with this article: Coronavirus

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