Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

California Re-Opening Guidance (Updated May 11, 2020)

California businesses may begin to reopen as outlined in the State’s Resilience Roadmap. Beginning May 8, 2020, California will enter into Stage 2 of modifying the state’s stay at home order with the gradual reopening of “lower risk workplaces”.  The Resilience Roadmap, including an explanation of the 4-stage, reopen process can be found here.

Agriculture businesses are deemed critical infrastructure and thus have been allowed to operate through the duration of the stay at home order. However, the Resilience Roadmap does include updated guidance for the agriculture and livestock industry to support a safe, clean environment for workers. Accordingly, CalOSHA has also released updated guidance for COVID-19 infection prevention for agriculture employers and employees (May 5, 2020).  Employers are strongly encouraged to closely review both documents and adhere to the recommendations therein.

Employment and Labor Resources

Information relating to CA paid sick leave requirements, unemployment insurance, disability, and CA Paid Family Leave and the new Federal emergency paid sick leave and expanded Family Medical Leave Act benefits. 

California Resources & Employee Benefits

CA Civil Rights Laws & COVID-19

The CA Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)  is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. DFEH has provided guidance to address what employers can and cannot legally do with regard to employee rights and COVID-19.  The guidance addresses questions such as: “May an employer send employees home if they show signs of COVID-19?” and “May an employer take employees’ temperatures?”.

Family First COVID-19 Response Act (FFCRA)

Effective April 2, 2020, the FFCRA provides for two forms of paid leave to employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak: an emergency expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a new federal paid sick leave law.

H-2A

Ag Industry Resources

Health & Safety Resources

Ensuring worker safety and health is of the utmost importance.  The following links include state and federal guidelines to protect workers from COVID-19 in the workplace.  Specific resources for agricultural employers include posters and other materials that can be shared with employees.

Ag Industry Resources

Businesses Resources

Federal Stimulus Packages (CARES Act & C3.5)

For those with small businesses under 500 employees, we urge you to look at the SBA loans included in the CARES Act and subsequent Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Act (Stimulus Package 3.5 or C3.5). If you use these loans to keep your employees paid through this period, the loans can become grants that do not have to be repaid!

The Paycheck Protection Program, authorized by the CARES Act and expanded by C3.5, is a guaranteed and forgivable loan meant for job retention and certain other expenses.  The new loan program will be available retroactive from Feb. 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.

The application is available NOW. If you think you may qualify, we encourage you to submit your application NOW.  (NOTE – As of 4.27.2020 the SBA will resume processing PPP applications.)

Stimulus Package 3.5 also provides an additional $60 Billion to the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan (EIDL), including $10 in grants. Businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue can get a grant for $10,000 and borrow up to $2 Million under the EIDL program. For the first time, agricultural enterprises are now eligible for the disaster assistance from EIDL.

Tax Information

WARN Act: Business Closures and Layoffs

The State and Federal WARN Acts require a business to give notice to workers before mass layoffs. California businesses subject to the WARN Act that have been affected by COVID-19 no longer have to give 60 days notice to workers before mass layoffs. Instead, businesses are required to give as much notice as practicable plus a statement explaining the basis for lessening the notification period.

USDA

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities. The program includes two major elements: direct support to farmers and ranchers and a new USDA purchase and distribution program.

  • Information about direct support to farmers and ranchers will be posted once it is available from USDA.
  • USDA Farmers to Families Food Box: The Food Box Program will be implemented by distributors who submit a bid and are awarded a federal contract. The contractor will be 100% responsible for the full supply chain including procurement of product, assembly of boxes, transportation, and distribution to non-profit organizations that can receive, store, and distribute food items.  Contracts will be awarded in early May with shipments beginning in mid-May.

FAQs Related to COVID-19 Impact on the Fruit & Vegetable Industry

Related Articles

Start typing and press Enter to search