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Coronavirus Update (as of March 30, 2020)


Concerns about the Coronavirus (Covid-19 or the virus) are growing daily. The following are links and basic information for members regarding what they may consider doing, and what they must do, to protect their employees and their operations.


Industry Best Practices


Critical Infrastructure Industry Issues

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House Coronavirus Task Force released a document, The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America -- 15 Days to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), which states that companies in the food supply are part of a critical infrastructure industry. The Department of Homeland Security DHS) then issued This guidance and accompanying list identifying critical infrastructure industries, including agriculture and food. To support that conclusion the Meat Institute submitted a memo to DHS emphasizing the importance of including meat industry suppliers in that critical infrastructure designation

The list of states executing shelter in residence orders continues to grow. Sometimes, law enforcement officials have stopped people questioning whether they should be away from home. Previous iterations of this memo provided templates (see below) for employees to use. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a memorandum, U.S. Department of Agriculture Operations Allowed to Operate During Shelter in Residence, you may wish to provide to your employees in addition to the templates below. Included in the Hogan Lovells document are certificate templates food and agriculture employees can use if stopped while traveling to or from work or with transportation employees, while in route. A similar document, Shipment of Supplies Related to Critical Infrastructure, was created for use by those transporting food or related products. Should your company or your carrier encounter a problem please contact Dr. Tiffany Lee, tlee@meatinstitute.org or the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Jim Mullen, at jim.mullen@dot.gov.  FMCSA has provided a questions and answers document to provide guidance. 

The broad collection of food industry associations that developed the protocols also sent a letter, to federal state and local officials asking food (for human and animal consumption), beverage, and consumer packaged goods manufacturers be exempted from the gathering and curfew bans

Finally, the National Governors Association has a coronavirus website that provides information and resources on a state by state basis. 


Antitrust Concerns

Every state has issued some form of emergency declaration and many states have instituted shelter in place orders. Although not every state has one and there is no comparable federal law, many states have enacted what are commonly known as "price gouging" statutes and those laws often are triggered by declaration or orders such as those being issued. NAMI's outside antitrust counsel has prepared a short memorandum providing background about these laws for your review. 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other Government Agency Information

The CDC updates it COVID-19 links regularly. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also has information and links, COVID-19, regarding hazard recognition, the OSHA standards that apply regarding protecting workers from COVID-19, among others. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, employers can and should advise other employees of possible workplace exposure; however, infected employees must not be identified by name and medical information must be kept confidential. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency has information regarding disinfectants to use regarding COVID-19. 

The Department of Homeland Security has a pandemic planning resources page. Likewise, the World Health Organization provides a Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response manual. Johns Hopkins University has a coronavirus resource center that includes a map with information regarding the outbreak. 


Labor and Employment Information Sources

Companies also should know their rights and the rights of their employees under the labor laws. Below are links to information prepared by law firms addressing issues for companies to consider regarding COVID-19. 


Archive


The Meat Institute will update these resources as needed. Please contact Mark Dopp at mdopp@meatinstitute.org with questions.