Dear Colleagues and Business Partners,
In recent weeks, governments at the local, state and federal level have taken specific actions to curb and limit the spread of COVID-19. As of today, more than 100 million Americans have been ordered to stay home to protect public health. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during the COVID-19 pandemic – which specifies trade, transport and logistics as essential industries.
The Port of Brownsville, and especially the Brownsville Navigation District, accepts its responsibility and recognizes the importance of our port remaining operational to support national, regional and local priorities during this difficult time.
The safety and well-being of our people is our top priority. Given the evolving circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken various steps to modify the port’s workplace environment. Some duties that can be performed remotely have been realigned out of concern for our employees, while balancing efforts to keep the port operational to provide a stabilizing influence on the regional economy.
Since March 2, 2020, port leadership has conducted meetings and briefings with our federal partners, port staff, port tenants and users on ways to help protect against and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, we have implemented the following measures to mitigate risks and help ensure the well-being of port employees, tenants and our community:
- We are monitoring the latest information and instructions from public health agencies, and sharing new information with employees, tenants and port users.
- Postponed or cancelled all in-person public events until further notice.
- Shared personal hygiene and workstation sanitation supplies, guidance and recommended actions and behaviors with all port staff to limit the potential spread and impacts of COVID-19.
- Maintaining consistent communications with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), and our tenants regarding expectations for port operations during the pandemic.
- Minimized face-to-face meetings and visits at all port offices.
- Cancelled all non-essential domestic and international travel until further notice.
- Implemented efforts to reduce the number of employees reporting to port workstations daily.
In following preexisting protocols, all arriving ships are thoroughly vetted by the USCG and USCBP prior to entering the Brownsville Ship Channel. To help protect public health, the USCG has implemented an additional requirement that inbound vessel representatives report sick crew members or passengers within the last 15 days to the CDC.
We remain confident, that working together, we can overcome these difficult times. We are grateful for your confidence and cooperation.