In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, trade associations representing North America’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry requested that federal, state, and local authorities grant “essential business” status to technicians and engineers responsible for “keeping the American people productive, healthy, and comfortable in these trying times,” according to a press release from AHRI (Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute).
AHRI joined with nine other organizations, representing HVACR and water-heating equipment manufacturers, contractors, technicians, engineers, plumbers, and sheet metal contractors, in issuing a statement on March 18 to government agencies that are trying to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“While citizens are coping with a variety of unforeseen and unusual restrictions, it is essential that they are able to maintain their HVAC and commercial refrigeration equipment,” the association leaders wrote. “Aside from providing comfort, this equipment is vital for health and safety in addition to productivity, particularly for air filtration and food and medical supply preservation, especially in this time of quarantine. When equipment fails, technicians must be able to repair or replace it as quickly as possible.”
“Accordingly, as states and local jurisdictions considering their health crisis travel restriction plans, we respectfully request that HVACR technicians and engineers be considered essential businesses,” the statement concluded.
Organizations signing the statement included AHRI; the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA); the Heating, Airconditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI); the Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA); North American Technician Excellence (NATE); the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC), the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA); the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI); ASHRAE; and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
“Essential businesses” are generally thought to include banks, hospitals, supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and post offices.