COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates and Resources for the Seed Industry


Below is a list of available COVID-19 resources and updates for the seed industry from various trade associations and government agencies. We suggest you visit these sites often for updated information. We will continue to provide links in future emails and will add others we become aware of that may also be of value.

Several resources that have been updated in recent days. Please make sure you are using the most recent versions of this information.


Update from USDA regarding Efforts to Address Food and Agriculture Sector PPE Challenges

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is reminding us to review this FEMA Fact Sheet:  Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Addressing PPE Needs in Non-Healthcare Setting, which summarizes how organizations should consider and manage their personal protective equipment (PPE) needs while ensuring the protection of workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response.  

CDFA has communicated with the National Emergency Management Association, and they have affirmed the process laid out in this document for critical infrastructure PPE and cloth face covering needs as described below:
 
For PPE and Cloth Face Covering needs: if suppliers are unable to provide for your needs, and the PPE is urgently required, submit a request for assistance to your state emergency management agency



The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has published version 3.0 of their
Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. 


Additional Relief Package Signed by President
President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act into law. The bill provides $310 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and makes agricultural enterprises eligible for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. However, it is expected this funding will run out quickly, as it is first come, first serve. Below, are links to apply for these grants. Farmers and other small businesses are encouraged to establish a relationship with an eligible bank or credit institution to begin the process.
Please note that unlike PPP, applications for the EIDL program are made directly to SBA.

•  Paycheck Protection Program
•  Economic Injury Disaster Program
•  Any small business with fewer than 500 employees is eligible to apply—this program is inclusive of sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and private contractors.
•  The EIDL advance program will issue grants of up to $10,000 that do not need to be repaid.


Updated Vendor List  (click here)

Cal-OSHA Issues Updated Safety and Health Guidance

The California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) issued updated Safety and Health Guidance for use by agricultural employers and employees to prevent infection of COVID-19.  The guidance does not introduce any new legal obligations, but because of COVID-19 is widespread in the community, most California workplaces must consider the disease a workplace hazard.  Several links to informational information and Q&A are included in the document.

Agricultural workers who normally wear Personal Potection Equipment (PPEs) are expected to continue this practice.  We recevied a list of suppliers of PPE from the California Department of Food and Agriculture which you can access here. (click here)

Resources Available from UC Davis Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety


We wanted to remind you of this resource available from the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at UC Davis. This resource provides many print, audio and video resources along with a new employer checklist. Resources are available in English and Spanish.  (Click here)

Navigating the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for Businesses


The resources below are designed to help businesses understand details of this new legislation passed by Congress last week and include information on the Paycheck Protection Program, small business interruption loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, Emergency Loans and additional relief programs. At the top of the list is an excellent resource that provides FAQs regarding the Family Care Act

1. Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers
2. Coronavirus Relief Resources for US Business Owners
3. Coronavirus Emergency Loans: Small Business Checklist


Guidance for Safeguarding Employees

A number of resources are now being circulated to assist businesses – particularly those in the food and agriculture sector deemed essential. It is extremely important in maintaining the U.S. food supply that precautions are taken to ensure workers are safe. The links below go to several resources to provide employers with information on how to manage employees and what precautions need to be taken during this COVID-19 situation.

  1. COVID-19 Resources for Agriculture from the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
  2. Advisory for Agricultural Worker Protection During COVID-19 Crisis
  3. Food Industry Recommended Protocols When Employee/Customer Tests Positive for COVID-19


Sample Letter for Employees - (Click here)

California Food and Agriculture is Critical Infrastructure for California and the Nation


Statement by California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross concerning the critical nature of California ag businesses and the continued operation of support services in the public and private sectors.

The statement can be found here.


List of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers

Employer Resources: Sample Letter for Employees of Essential Services
Governor Newsom has emphasized that Californians working in 16 critical infrastructure sectors-which includes food and agriculture-may continue their work because of the importance of these sectors to Californians' health and well-being. It is critically importantly the food supply be maintained. 

Sample Letter to Employees The California Department of Food and Agriculture has added a new section to its website with information for California's agriculture industry.


This can be found here. We suggest you bookmark this and visit regularly for updates. 

U.S. Centers for Disease Control
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)—Resources for Businesses and Employers

Download the Full Guidance Statement Here

 

OTHER LINKS TO RESOUCES:


American Seed Trade Association 
Click here

ASTA created a central information website for all of the COVID-19 information related to seed that we have collected and vetted.  We hope that you and your members will find it a valuable resource for all seed-related inquiries.  The link can be found here:  https://www.betterseed.org/covid-19/ 

Guidance on Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020. 

Read the full press release here



U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Resources for Employers and Workers

UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program
COVID-19 Worker Health Resources

California Ag Commissioners
Contact Information for California Ag Commissioners