March 17, 2020

Farms Exempt from County Shelter-In-Place Orders

Yesterday, government officials issued a shelter-in-place order for six San Francisco Bay Area counties* –Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara – in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

To stay in effect until April 7th, the order directs the public to stay at home as much as possible, with certain exceptions, such as to get food at grocery stores, fill prescriptions at pharmacies and other essential activities. Additionally, essential government services will remain open, and essential businesses are urged to remain open.

Under the order, food cultivation, like farming, livestock and fishing are considered essential businesses and will not be subject to the shelter-in-place restrictions.

President Trump issued a set of COVID-19 guidelines that references food production as a critical function:

“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.”

Western Growers is working with the Newsom Administration to ensure that any future potential local shelter-in-place orders in the state follow the lead of the Bay Area counties in allowing farming operations to continue unabated.

Please notify Western Growers if you are experiencing any disruptions to your business as a result of this order or other measures being taken by local authorities. We will work with the Newsom Administration, Secretary Perdue and our contacts at USDA to ensure that your business and the broader food supply remains uninterrupted.

*Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties have now also issued similar shelter-in-place orders, also exempting agricultural activities.