WASHINGTON – At a news conference this afternoon, Gov. Jay Inslee announced new COVID-related requirements on agricultural employers. The intended purpose is to keep farmworkers safe from exposure to coronavirus.

The announcement from his office can be found here.

This new proclamation can be found here, and the list of new mandates is here.

The proclamation lays out sanitation and PPE requirements for workers and employers. Some key provisions include the following:

  • Employers, operators and providers must supply, at no cost to employees, all PPE mandated by these requirements, and cloth facial coverings must be worn by every employee not working alone on the job site.
  • Physical distancing of six feet must be observed. If that isn’t possible, other prevention measures such as more PPE, barriers and ventilation are required.
  • Large worksites will have roughly four times as many hand-washing stations than what was previously required
  • Additional transportation and housing protections are also required.
  • See the actual proclamation and requirements for the full list of what is required.

The proclamation prohibits “any agricultural employer from continuing to operate beyond June 3, 2020, unless the employer complies with all provisions of the Agriculture COVID-19 Requirements – Provisions for All Worksites and Work-Related Functions found here, which prohibition shall remain in effect throughout the duration of the State of Emergency.”

According to the proclamation, “agricultural employers include orchards, fields, dairies, and all other operations expressly identified in WAC 296-307-006; all fruit- and vegetable-packing warehouses whether owned by the grower or producer or not; and employer- or operator-provided transportation and housing. These requirements do not apply to meat or other food processing operations.”

Face Masks for Farmworkers Available
If you are in need of masks for your workers, we still have some to distribute free of charge.

Washington State Dairy Federation is working with the state Department of Agriculture to distribute free cloth face masks for farmworkers across the state. We have been provided a limited supply of these masks that are now available at no cost to you for your employees.

To request face masks for your farmworkers, please choose the best contact point and arrange to pick up the masks:

To request cloth face masks for your farmworkers, send an email to the regional contact with the following information:

  • Employer Contact (name)
  • Company Name
  • County or counties where your farm is located
  • Number of employees

(This information is needed for the grant-maker to ensure they are delivered.)

Upon receiving your request, the contact can arrange a time for the masks to be picked up or delivered, depending on proximity.

These masks cannot be sold and are to be used for your own employees only. Given the limited supply, we may not be able to provide masks for all your employees. Also, if you are a member of another grower organization, please only request masks from one group.