Gov. Newsom on Friday announced state support for constructing temporary isolation housing for COVID-positive agricultural workers who are asymptomatic.
The program, Housing for Harvest, was inspired by an initiative in Monterey County by the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California. Association members had joined together to build new housing and procure hotel rooms, and to set up a clinic with onsite testing.
“We're going to build on that,” said Newsom in a press conference. “I want to thank the ag industry. They've been very supportive of that program.”
Though few details have been shared, the governor described the program as expanding isolation spaces on the Central Coast, while also focusing on farmworkers in the Central Valley and the Imperial Valley.
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On expanding paid sick leave and workers’ compensation, Newsom vowed to work with the Legislature to make his earlier executive orders more lasting. In doing so, he is pivoting away from the top-down policy approach that earned him criticism earlier in the pandemic.
Adding more regulatory muscle to Cal/OSHA, The governor said he will be working with lawmakers to bolster labor agencies and more swiftly target and close investigations in high-risk industries.
The administration has also released an “employer playbook” as a guide to cleaning worksites and reducing risk.