Press release from ODA this afternoon :
Dear ODA Partner,
Together, the agricultural community has a deep history of being resilient, compassionate, and leaders in our communities. Farmers, ranchers, food processors, farmworkers, truckers, and service suppliers are all identified as essential services at the national and state level. Our Federal and State governments are working hard to ensure that these vital sectors remain operational during this COVID-19 outbreak. This infectious disease has challenged our daily lives. In the face of uncertainty, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) remains committed to supporting healthy natural resources, environment, and economy for Oregonians now and into the future.
We all have a vital role in protecting each other while maintaining our critical function and role in the community. ODA is reprioritizing resources, teleworking, and supporting functions outside our agency to do our part. The agency remains operational, but we ask for patience in your requests as we all work to minimize disruptions. Please reach out to the agency and know, while we might not have all the answers, we are here to help the best we can.
As the situation is rapidly changing, ODA has created a specific webpage oda.direct/COVID19 to provide a variety of information for all our partners.
Check frequently as information will be updated.
Why am I receiving this message?
As a critical partner in Oregon’s agricultural community, you are receiving this message as an update and to provide you with current resources to help navigate questions and concerns. You are encouraged to share, print, and forward this information to help ensure every Oregonian has science-based information.
No actions are being request or demands are being made—this message is for informational purposes only. For general COVID-19 information and general questions, please call 211. Visit the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) website for the most current information and guidance.
Should I keep my business/farm/ranch open?
Currently, essential businesses are not ordered to close, but are strongly encouraged to implement social distancing protocols. The Governor recognizes Oregon’s food production system as an essential function and is working hard to minimize disruptions. Each business has to independently assess themselves, be creative and innovative, and implement social distancing protocols that help reduce exposure.
What are social distancing protocols?
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued guidelines that are routinely updated. They can also be accessed in Spanish. Please check both sources for updates.
The basic social distancing and safety protocols you should implement are:
- Provide the CDC-recommended distance of 6 feet between workers and customers;
- Provide hand washing stations, routine disinfection, identify and mitigate pathways of exposure;
- Stagger work schedules (if feasible);
- Decrease social contacts in the workplace (e.g. limit in-person meetings, meeting for lunch in a break room, etc.);
- Encourage sick or potentially exposed employees to stay home.
What resources are available to workers and employees?
Flexibility and compassion are important as we all navigate the COVID-19 situation.
Should you, as a worker or as an employer, be unable to work, there are resources.
As an employer, it is essential to help employees navigate resources and be accommodating to non-English speaking employees.
For information regarding COVID-19: Related Business Layoffs, Closures, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits, please visit the Oregon Employment Department (OED) website. The OED has Scenarios and Benefits sheets in both English and Spanish.
Both federal and state lawmakers are considering changes to unemployment to be able to respond to this unique situation. All changes and updates can be found on the Oregon Employment Department website. While these changes are being considered, if you or your employees need to file for unemployment, you are encouraged to file claims quickly. Claims can be filed with OED in English and Spanish.
How will ODA be conducting business?
ODA is prioritizing the health and well-being of our staff and families. Critical functions including: food safety inspections, maintaining market access, and responding to the agency’s customers remain operational. ODA is reprioritizing staff to conduct and maintain critical functions and may be delayed in response to non-COVID-19 related business. Rule makings and other meetings will be re-examined and either postponed or conducted remotely whenever possible. Please reach out directly to ODA programs for more information.