If you have not yet heard, today, July 1, is the first day that face coverings are mandatory statewide when inside a public space. Guests seated in restaurants, tasting rooms, brewpubs and bars can remove masks when eating or drinking but are asked to wear them at all other times when indoors at a place of business.
As detailed further in this notice from the Oregon Health Authority, located in the Oregon Wine Board’s COVID-19 toolkit, employers must supply face coverings for employees. They are encouraged, though not required, to supply them for guests.
The face covering requirement reflects an elevated awareness as we move into the holiday weekend that we all have a role to play in implementing safety precautions now that the majority of Oregon counties are currently in Phase II of the governor’s plan to reopen Oregon. This seven-slide PowerPoint from Governor Brown yesterday includes some testing data on page three specific to Oregon that supported the face covering decision. The recent trends mean that we will soon be seeing more public service announcements and reminders to encourage everyone to help safeguard their families, coworkers and the public’s health.
For business owners who may be getting questions from staff members about dealing with COVID-19, Davis Wright Tremaine offers a reminder to consult this Centers for Disease Control advice and this set of isolation guidelines written for those with virus symptoms or those who have tested positive but may present no symptoms. DWT also recommends this jointly authored guidance for farmers from the Department of Labor and the CDC with details on precautions to help protect agricultural workers.
One last point about safety and hygiene protocols in the workplace. Industry volunteers led by Anthony King are preparing a set of best practices specifically designed to help avoid or minimize COVID-19 outbreaks among production workers in Oregon wineries and cellar operations as we approach late summer bottlings and the fall crush. Media coverage of COVID-19 incidents affecting workforces at Oregon fruit packing, seafood and food manufacturing facilities has brought business interruptions and unwelcome attention to some well-known companies. In the hopes of helping our industry prepare itself, Anthony invites anyone to email him with comments, input and assistance. The draft document he and others will circulate in July for review is being created as a winery and vineyard-focused supplement to the more generic toolkit now available to food and beverage processors from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, OSHA and the Oregon Health Authority.
Here’s some good news for Paycheck Protection Program loan recipients. While the period within which to use the financing has been extended to 24 weeks, there will be some who are thinking ahead already about the process to seek loan forgiveness. They’ll be glad to hear that the forgiveness application has been reduced from eleven pages to three. The short form and instructions are available for:
Those who are self-employed and have no employees; or
Businesses that did not reduce the salaries or wage rates of their employees by more than 25% and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; or
Businesses that experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19 and did not reduce the salaries or wage rates of their employees by more than 25%.
Our Oregon Wine Board management team wishes you and your families a safe and memorable Independence Day weekend.