On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee announced a new, enforceable, “stay at home” order for the state of Washington to combat the spread of COVID-19. The executive order goes into effect March 25. It directs all residents to immediately heed current state public health directives to stay home, except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of essential critical infrastructure sectors and additional sectors as the State Public Health Officer may designate as critical to protect health and well-being of all Washingtonians.
In accordance with this order, the governor has designated a list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” to help state, local, tribal, and industry partners as they work to protect communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. The following information applies to the Food & Agriculture Sector:
The Food and Agricultural (FA) Sector is composed of complex production, processing, and delivery systems and has the capacity to feed people and animals both within and beyond the boundaries of the United States. Beyond domestic food production, the FA Sector also imports many ingredients and finished products, leading to a complex web of growers, processors, suppliers, transporters, distributors, and consumers. This sector is critical to maintaining and securing our food supply.
Further, the order:
- Closes all businesses in the state unless they are “essential” or can otherwise function using telework.
- Bans all formal and informal gatherings for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes. The portion of the order goes into effect immediately.
- Allows people to go outside their homes for essential activities like grocery shopping, doctor’s visits, or exercise as long as social distancing of at least 6 feet is maintained.
Doctor’s offices, pharmacies, childcare facilities, gas stations, grocery stores, and other food supply chains are exempt from the order. Restaurants are permitted to continue offering to-go and delivery services as they have been since the Governor’s previous order restricting restaurants and bars.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Centers will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While FSA and NRCS program delivery staff at the service centers will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone, and using online tools whenever possible.
WAWG staff continues to work remotely but is committed to continue work on behalf of the grower members and wheat industry. Office calls (509-659-0610) and emails will be answered during normal business hours.
The full proclamation issued by Gov. Inslee can be found here.
Stay safe and healthy!
We would also like to take the opportunity to wish you a Happy National Ag Day! U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a statement regarding National Agriculture Day and President Trump’s proclamation recognizing the importance of American agriculture.
“Today, on National Ag Day, I challenge the American public to keep our farmers, ranchers and processors on their minds-for all their work to provide us a safe, healthy and abundant food supply,” said Secretary Perdue. “We owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Click here for the secretary’s complete statement on video.