animal feed

Essential does not mean business as usual

With the recent “stay-at-home” order from Gov. Mike DeWine to slow the spread of the coronavirus came a list of essential services that will allow people within certain industries to continue to work to supply necessary items society needs.

Agriculture is a major part of that list, but just because those within the food system are allowed to carry out their daily roles does not mean that those duties should be done in a business as usual environment.

“It’s important that agriculture keeps moving forward and this order enables that,” said Leah Curtis, policy counsel with Ohio Farm Bureau. “We also have to recognize that we have an important part to play in making sure we are doing everything that is being asked of us to limit the spread of this virus.”

According to the “stay-at-home” order, essential businesses and operations must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements where possible, including designating with signage, tape or by other means six-foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distance, having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers, implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers, posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely. Employers should also ensure they are providing guidance and direction to all employees for compliance with these requirements.

A complete list of actions DeWine’s “stay-at-home” directive gives businesses and employers can be found in Section 18 of his Executive Order.

“Agriculture is essential but we can’t operate if those working in the food supply chain get sick,” Curtis said. “We need to be a part of the larger community effort and we also need to keep ourselves healthy and moving so we can supply our products to not only consumers but to every essential worker helping to get us through this crisis.”