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Photo Courtesy of Kieffer-Starlite
Photo Courtesy of Kieffer-Starlite

Essential Business

From the start of the state and local shutdowns, ISA advised sign and graphics companies and government officials that our industry is “essential” and must remain open to continue to serve vital infrastructure, manufacturing and retail services throughout our country.

Signs and graphics are more important than ever to help “essential businesses” and “critical infrastructure” facilities communicate with the public during these uncertain times. Please download and share this infographic on how our industry is making a difference.


ISA strongly advocated to the federal government that they consider the sign and graphics industry as “essential.” As a result of these efforts, as of April 17, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency (CISA) now includes the sign and graphics industry as “critical infrastructure.” This is especially important since most of the states that have enacted shutdowns use the CISA guidelines to determine what is allowed to continue operating. Still there are steps sign companies should take to ensure that they are operating in a safe manner.


Please click here for the latest information on each individual state's COVID health and regulatory statuses.


“Essential businesses” which are being allowed to stay open to serve the public typically include (but are not limited to) health care facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores, auto parts stores, banks and gas stations. These “essential businesses” depend on the sign and graphics industry for their marketing and communications needs. Our industry provides critical supply and construction services to “essential businesses” and therefore should be allowed to remain open, to an extent. Keep in mind that even if your business supports essential businesses, that may only address certain aspects of your business, and a limited number of your employees.


Being considered as part of our nation’s “critical infrastructure” is great, but that doesn’t mean it’s back to business as usual for our industry. Sign and graphics companies must have a plan that meets CDC recommended guidelines to maintain employee safety, and determine how many employees must be in the business’s physical location in order to do the “essential” work.

Many sign and graphics companies provide temporary signage to communicate valuable messages to the public during difficult times. ISA encourages all sign and graphics companies to contribute to these efforts as much as possible.

You can also find a list of suppliers and distributors who are open for business and can provide vital resources.

If you want to increase your company’s odds of being allowed to stay open and operational, ISA recommends that you do the following:

  • Make sure that your facility has a safety plan in line with CDC recommendations.
  • Implement a policy to have only employees working on these “essential” projects coming into work, and designate them as essential using this template which the employee should carry with them getting to- and from work. Also, see this template made specifically for installers. 
  • Allow all non-essential personnel or employees who are uncomfortable coming into work to work remotely.
  • Get documentation from your “essential business” customers that they are in need of signs and graphics from your business to communicate with the public using this template.
  • Keep these documents confirming business relationships on record.

Stay healthy and stay open!

For more information, please contact David Hickey.