Notwithstanding the complexity of the decision making required to address the current COVID 19 crisis in every jurisdiction, in our nation. It is imperative that we not lose sight of the essentials required for our country to navigate and rebound from the current grips of the virus. The forest products industry in Arkansas is an essential partner in the fight to mitigate and eradicate the effects of the COVID 19 virus by producing products essential to the safety of the public and the operations of the medical community, providing remedies to the virus. The production of bath tissue, paper towels, food packaging, medical packaging all essential to the sanitized health of our citizens requires that these products production not be interrupted as the ripple effects can be devastating and long lasting.
The member companies of the Arkansas Forest and Paper Council are key producers and shippers of vital products needed for our country to weather this storm and want to ask that if you are confronted with the need to declare a “shelter in place” policy or any quarantine policy for our state that our industry be defined to be “essential business” operations and exempt from the restrictions included in such a declaration.
The products produced by our industry are essential for housing, hygiene, and health. Wood and chemical by-products are utilized, to the extent that there is no waste in our supply chains, by 95% of all businesses in our country.
The Arkansas forest products industry considers the health and safety of our over 28,000 employees and their families of upmost importance. Arkansas Forest and Paper Council member companies have reported to us that they have implemented COVID-19 health, safety and operational plans to support their employees, visitors and customers during this unprecedented time. Our members are manufacturing products that we all rely upon and they are adequately managing product supplies to support customers throughout the nation.
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