The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on protecting consumers at restaurants, farmers markets, food trucks and other food and beverage establishments.
The recommendations including reducing occupancy by half, limiting lines and cleaning everything often. Similarly, farmers markets should space out booths, pre-bag items and cut out food sampling.
Gov. Newsom recommended on Sunday that all bars, wineries and breweries be closed. The governor did later clarify that by wineries and breweries, he meant tasting and drinking rooms. Wine and beer production will continue (and retail sales may even rise to meet what is likely a growing market in at-home consumption).
Family Winemakers of California has asked the administration to instead keep tasting rooms open for reduced capacity, as restaurants are doing. FWC is also recommending a software tool for setting up an appointment-only system for wineries. Silicon Valley Bank has also posted its advice on how wineries can “meet the customers where they are.”
The wine industry is already dealing with an oversupply issue, along with major market loss in China. Tasting rooms and related tourism have played an increasing role in the business models for Napa wineries, a region that also faces the state’s highest ag land values.
Food safety inspections will also continue throughout the crisis. The Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement is assuring retail customers and consumers its members are already meeting strict hygiene standards that are enforced through routine government audits. LGMA CEO Scott Horsfall said: “It’s important that people understand what happens on our farms each and every day.”
United Farm Workers is also asking ag groups to ensure consumer and farmworker safety. In a letter to farmers, UFW also wants 40 hours or more of sick pay for farmworkers, the end of a 90-day wait period for claiming sick time and the removal of caps on accruing sick pay, among other requests.