Inslee Denies Ag Worker Changes Pt 2

Inslee Denies Ag Worker Changes Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Governor Inslee, in a round about way, says the emergency rules laid out over a year ago to deal with the pandemic will last at least a little longer for farmworkers.

Washington Farm Bureau CEO, John Stuhlmiller says the statistics show we’ve been better protected than many …

STUHLMILLER … “And yet, we get this rhetoric that we’re terribly unsafe, the world will fall apart and everybody will die unless we keep these temporary worker housing rules and other restrictions on ag, that aren’t even necessarily applicable, are going to be applicable in the rest of the business world.”

But being outdoors, what about masks and social distancing? …

STUHLMILLER … “That’s a good question and growers around the state are wondering that very question. And, the governor has clearly said, maybe yes, maybe no. That’s the problem.”

Stuhlmiller says it’s a bit frustrating for everyone down the line …

STUHLMILLER … “So, do those COVID special sanitation requirements continue? Probably, yes. So, in other words, you could be vaccinated, your cohorts can mix with other cohorts if you’re vaccinated, you can eat together, socialize, and then, you go to the field and you have to mask up. I mean, it’s just very unclear.”

It’s still unclear, Stuhlmiller says if ag will change when we reach the governor’s target date for reopening …

STUHLMILLER … “That’s the greatest concern, when the governor says, oh June 30th, the state will be open for business as regular if you’re vaccinated. But then, we don’t recognize that in the rules that are out there. What is an employer to do?”

The emergency rules are due to expire September 6th.

Stuhlmiller is urging everyone to contact their representatives in Olympia and let them know why this is wrong.

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