As a farming community, we recognize that some risk of COVID-19 transmission may increase with the pace of seasonal work, and therefore, COVID-19 specific protocols must be considered and adopted. NVG and the Farmworker Foundation have compiled these protocols to provide comprehensive recommendations that prioritize the health and safety of vineyard workers as we harvest amidst a global pandemic.
Vineyards are considered relatively safe worksites when it comes to COVID-19. Work is primarily conducted outdoors with ample space for social distancing. However, workers may live with many family members or in congregate living spaces and often carpool to work. Napa County Public Health believes that most positive COVID-19 cases, among all Napa County residents, come from social gatherings with family and friends, rather than from the workplace. These everyday environmental factors increase the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the possibility of bringing it to the workplace.
With statewide infection rates peaking again, it is safe to assume that, at some point, someone on your team could contract COVID-19. While it is unlikely that you can prevent this scenario, you can prevent transmission of the virus to the rest of the vineyard team with best practices and compliance with mandated safety standards.
As with many issues that impact farming operations, a one-size fits all approach for preventing COVID-19 in vineyards does not exist. These protocols have been compiled by NVG and the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation to provide suggestions for making the vineyard and vineyard-adjacent workspaces as safe as possible for preventing COVID-19 transmission.
On August 28, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom introduced the Blueprint For A Safer Economy that became effective on Monday, August 31, 2020. Every county in California has been assigned to a tier based on two metrics: the rate of new cases and the positivity rate. At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving forward. Data is reviewed weekly and tiers are updated every Tuesday. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. Learn more.
On November 19, 2020 California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously approved the Emergency Regulation for COVID-19 Protection. This Emergency Regulation will be in place for 180 days after a 10 calendar day review by the Office of Administrative Law. This standards applies to all employees and places of employment with a select few exceptions. View the COVID-19 Prevention Regulation