Can Manufacturing is a “Critical or Essential Business” during Pandemic

Statement from CMI President Robert Budway

WASHINGTON, DC — As the federal, state and local authorities around the country identify critical businesses needed to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) strongly encourages can manufacturing be considered a critical business or essential industry.  Authorities should consider not only can manufacturing plants as critical but also the metal, coating and transportation suppliers as well. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued "MEMORANDUM ON IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 RESPONSE" on March 19, 2020, which identifies "food and agriculture" workers as essential.    

Under the Food and Agriculture section in the DHS guidance includes food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees including “the production of food packaging and employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution.”

During a time when outsized demand for everyday canned foods, beverages and disinfectant products is straining supply chains, can manufacturers need to be able to continue manufacturing iron-clad containers that supply quality food and sanitizing products to American consumers.  The more than 22,000 can manufacturer employees take great pride in producing durable metal containers for nutritious, affordable, safe and accessible foods and beverages.  

CMI asks that the president, state governors and local officials to place can manufacturing and their suppliers on every list of critical or essential business to alleviate any additional concerns U.S. consumers may have with their dire need of canned products as they self-quarantine during this crisis.


The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) is the national trade association of the metal can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. The can industry accounts for the annual domestic production of approximately 119 billion food, beverage and general line cans; which employs more than 28,000 people with plants in 33 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa; and generates about $17.8 billion in direct economic activity. CMI members are committed to providing safe, nutritious and refreshing canned food and beverages to consumers.

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