COVID-19 Harvest Safety Pt 2

COVID-19 Harvest Safety Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Is the number of positive COVID cases going up in agricultural settings? In many locations yes, but it’s helpful to remember that during harvest the number of people involved shoots up dramatically.

According to Washington State Tree Fruit Association president Jon DeVaney, we should be able to keep numbers to a minimum if we continue following the safety rules …

DeVANEY … “What we’re seeing is that the rules that have been put in place and the protective measures like additional masks that are now available are really being effective at slowing and preventing the spread among the agricultural workforce.”

But, DeVaney says working conditions are only part of the equation …

DeVANEY … “That doesn’t mean that we’re home free because our workers don’t spend all of their day at work. Usually you only spend about 8 out of 24 hours a day at work. And so, there’s a lot of folks who still are out in the community, where some people are following mask recommendations and safety recommendations, and others are not.”

Early season deaths, DeVaney says shows the importance of staying focused …

DeVANEY … “You know as tragic as those deaths were among those two farmworkers, the fact that we significantly ramped up employment through the summer and we have not seen similar kinds of cases occurring, is a good indication that the safety measures that were put in place in the Spring are really being effective at protecting the workforce.”

Tune in tomorrow for more … on the health and safety challenges during harvest season.

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