Maryland Department of Agriculture, in Conjunction with the Maryland Department of Health, Has Issued Five Guidance Documents to Assist Maryland Farmers in the Fight Against COVID-19
Business Checklist here
Workforce Guidance here
Workforce Housing Guidance here
Workforce Training Guidance here
Delivery Guidance here
Agriculture Workers and Employers - Interim Guidance from the CDC and the Department of Labor
This guidance provides a template of action to protect agriculture workers from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Agricultural Employer Checklist for Creating a COVID-19 Assessment and Control Plan from the CDC and the Department of Labor
To prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19, agricultural employers can use this checklist to create a COVID-19 assessment and control plan for applying specific preparation, prevention, and management measures
MDA Guidance for PYO Operations During COVID-19 State of Emergency
Thank you to our collaborators for their input! This was a joint effort on the part of MDA and MDH with input from the Plant Science Food Safety Group and from the Agriculture Law Education Initiative.
The guidance is available in Spanish here.
La guia en Español esta disponible AQUI.
MDA Issues Guidance for Farmer's Markets Operations During the COVID-19 State of Emergency: Frequently Asked Questions
Many farm markets will be opening soon and some are already seeing customers. With the loss of wholesale, other farmers are opening up to direct market sales. This is a time of new restrictions and new innovations. This document was written in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Health to insure both customers and farm personnel are protected. Read that here.
A Talk About COVID-19 for Your Spanish Speaking Workers
Keeping workers healthy has become more of an issue during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic than in any time in memory. A recorded talk in Spanish giving a basic introduction to what COVID-19 is all about, modes of transmission, prevention protocols and guidelines for day-to-day living can be found here. Also of interest is the part of Governor Hogan's March 30th speech that introduced the stay-at-home order and who it effects. You can listen to that here. Both of these recordings are in Spanish and are easily accessed on a cell phone
Una audio en Español dando una introduccion basica a todo lo referente al Covid-19: Modos de transmision, protocolos para prevenir contagios y guias para la vida dia a dia de pueden encontrar AQUI.
How Does COVID-19 Affect My Farm?
Watch this spot for updates on cleaning and sanitizing methods, worker training, and other topical issues.
Changes in cleaning and sanitizing and now disinfecting!
Strong cleaning and sanitizing programs not only maintain quality of your product but can also protect your product from food borne pathogens and pathogens of emerging public health concern.
Transmission of COVID-19 through food, food packages or even food handlers has not been identified as a risk factor for this illness. Food facilities are required to use EPA-registered “sanitizer” products in their normal cleaning and sanitizing practices. Nevertheless, research indicates that viruses like this type can stay viable on hard surfaces for a few hours to possibly longer.
Therefore, in addition to cleaning your food contact surfaces, identify other surfaces of interest to add into your cleaning and sanitizing program. These should include “high touch” surfaces such as doorknobs, small-wares, counter tops, light switches and surfaces consumers may touch. Surfaces to consider for disinfection*:
6.Keyboards or other shared electronics / tools
7.Employee break area
8.Pack out containers that go to consumers
9.Anything else a consumer may interact with
*The FDA has authorized the following products and their dilution rates as effective disinfectants to be used in the case of COVID-19
CDC Guidance for Large or Extended Families Living in the Same Household
Many times workers are living in the same building or dormitory. The CDC has published a guidance document to help keep all members of the household healthy. Include this in your worker training.
What to do If an Employee or Contract Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19
Jennifer McEntire, Vice President of Food Safety and Technology at United Fresh, joined with several colleagues in the food industry to develop a guide for food chain employers on what to do when an employee or contract worker tests positive for COVID-19.
We anticipate that the ‘Food Industry Recommended Protocol When Employee/Customer Tests Positive for COVID-19’ will be posted soon on the FDA website; so please refer all employers, local, and state officials to this source,” says Tom Stenzel, President and CEO of United Fresh.
(quoted from Greenhouse Grower, an industry publication. Read the complete article here: https://www.greenhousegrower.com/production/what-to-do-if-a-food-industry-employee-tests-positive-for-covid-19/)
What Does the Stay-At-Home Order Mean To Me and My Workers?
Agriculture is considered an essential business. The Maryland Department of Agriculture guidance states, "Agriculture and food-related businesses remain essential, however individual companies are asked to make an honest assessment as to whether their operation is essential to public health and safety."
Workers are urged to minimize all unnecessary trips. Travel is allowed to obtain food, medicine, urgent medical care, assist family members, and obtain food and care for livestock and pets. Read full order here: https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gatherings-FOURTH-AMENDED-3.30.20.pdf
The Maryland State Police will not be doing random checks, but as part of routine traffic activities, non essential travel would be an additional enforcement action. Read full statement here: https://news.maryland.gov/msp/2020/03/31/state-police-enforcement-of-governors-executive-orders-continues/
In the event a worker is detained, the following documents (templates, fill in pertinent information) have been created:
Documentation is not required, but the Maryland State Police order states, "While it is not necessary for drivers in Maryland to have documentation about the purpose of travel, having such documentation may help resolve questions."