Vaccine Priority For Essential Snow & Ice Workers?


COVID-19 vaccines are now being rolled out and areas are determining their timelines of priority for vaccination scheduling. Deeming it’s members as providing “essential critical infrastructure work,” the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) is distributing a request to all state and provincial health departments in charge of vaccine distribution to prioritize snow and ice removal workers as “essential workers.”

SIMA has drafted a statement to be used as needed to send to local health department. According to SIMA CEO Martin Tirado, “Getting the COVID-19 [vaccine] is optional, and snow and ice professionals should have this option in Phase 1 of distribution.”

Martin Tirado of SIMA

Vaccination of snow and ice employees may also aid in any labor shortfalls. Tirado said in an earlier statement, “This season there is an increased risk of a shortage of a healthy workforce ready and willing to participate in this tough work. COVID-19 and standard Influenza may cause a larger-than-normal loss of labor hours and people during certain periods of the winter season, and may impact the ability of professional snow and ice management companies to conduct the work they are tasked with during strong and often severe winter storms.”

Here is the letter SIMA drafted:

January 8, 2021

To: All State or Provincial Health Departments in the USA and Canada

Please consider this correspondence a request to have snow and ice removal service providers be recognized as essential workers and to be offered Phase 1 priority in COVID-19 vaccine priority.

Essential workers recommended for vaccination in Phase 1 include those in “transportation and logistics” and several other areas. Snow and ice removal service providers accurately represent the transportation and logistics sector as they provide uninterrupted access to vital locations in inclement winter weather conditions, particularly medical clinics and facilities where “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” are eligible for vaccine priority.

Business and transportation can be severely disrupted during and after winter storms. Snow and ice removal service providers perform essential snow management, removal and ice melting to ensure that the public and first responders have safe access to medical and hospital facilities, grocery stores and gas stations, local government buildings and logistics and supply/distribution centers. The important work of snow and ice removal providers often goes unnoticed since the public may not be aware of the complexities, logistics and personnel needed to keep transportation open.

The Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) is the non-profit trade association that represents and provides education for snow and ice removal companies and their employees. We have over 1,600 member companies who employ thousands of professionals critical to keeping businesses, homes and people safe with clear parking lots, pedestrian access routes and driveways.

According to industry research, there are 110,400 snow plow service operators in the United States that employ approximately 325,000 people. There are people working in this sector throughout the country, concentrated primarily in areas where there is more significant winter weather.

Snow and ice removal service providers perform a critical risk management service in keeping transportation open during the worst winter weather. As an essential part of the transportation and logistics sector, we request that they be included in Phase 1 priority.

For more information, visit the SIMA blog.

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