April 1, 2020

Yesterday, seven counties -- Alameda , Contra Costa , Marin , San Francisco , San Mateo , Santa Clara and Santa Cruz -- issued new requirements for “essential businesses” that are permitted to continue operations under previously issued shelter-in-place orders. The new requirements establish protocols that essential businesses must adopt. The protocols will be enforceable beginning April 2nd. These same counties also extended their existing shelter-in-place orders until May 3.
These counties were the first to adopt a shelter-in-place orders and other counties quickly followed suit. Consequently, other counties are likely to update their current shelter-in-place orders by extending the effective period of those orders and imposing additional requirements. 
The seven county new orders call for posting of social distancing protocols at essential businesses by 11:59 PM on April 2. Key protocol requirements are listed below:
  • Essential businesses are directed to maximize the number of employees working from home.
  • Essential businesses must follow industry-specific guidance issued by the county health officer related to COVID-19.
  • A new definition of “essential businesses”, which includes “food cultivation, including farming.” This protects all vineyard activities including those who provide services to growers. However, it is unclear how this applies to wineries.
  • A new definition of “minimum basic operations” which also requires owners, employees, and contractors to comply with social distancing requirements as defined by the county. Remember, the exception for minimum basic operations allows work to continue and this definition is very important.
  • Essential businesses must prepare and post a “social distancing protocol” for each of their facilities in the county frequented by the public or employees. The social distancing protocol must be substantially in the form provided by the county. Link to example from Santa Cruz County. The social distancing protocol must be posted at or near the entrance of the relevant facility, and shall be easily viewable by the public and employees. A copy of the social distancing protocol must also be provided to each employee performing work at the facility.
  • All essential businesses shall implement the social distancing protocol and should be prepared to provide evidence of its implementation to any authority enforcing this order.

We expect that other counties may be adopting similar protocols. Please closely monitor things in your county. To assist you, CAWG has a list of all county requirements available online . We strive to keep this list current, but things are evolving very quickly and are subject to change.

For growers who do not have county protocols in place, please consider the protocols CAWG sent earlier today .

Thank you and stay healthy,

Your CAWG Team