Mar 26, 2020Colorado agriculture seen as ‘Critical Business’ in stay-at-home order
The order began today, March 26, 2020 at 6 a.m. It requires all Colorado residents to stay at home whenever possible, except those who work in critical business areas or are performing necessary activities. Any business not considered a “Critical Business” as defined in the PHO is to close temporarily until April 11, 2020, except to protect assets and maintain personnel functions.
What does this mean for agriculture?
Agriculture remains a Critical Business. The order includes food and plant cultivation, including farming crops, livestock, food processing and manufacturing, animal feed and feed products, rendering, commodity sales, retail sales including produce stands and farmers markets, ag supply businesses, non-elective veterinary and livestock care, and any other work critical to the operation of any component of the food supply chain.
What if I don’t know if my business is included?
If you are uncertain as to whether your business is considered a Critical Business under this order, please first check with your local public health officials to determine if you fall under any local orders. Please also use this site for reference. For state orders, our CDA team will assist you however we can and are doing so already for many different types of businesses. While we may not have the answer for you right away, we will work as quickly as possible to provide as much clarity as we can.
Travel guidance for employees undertaking critical job duties
Many of you have been asking us about self-certification letters that employees of critical businesses can carry with them as they travel to/from work. For starters, the state is focused on voluntary compliance with these orders. There is no reason you should need any kind of paperwork in order for you or your employees to get to your job. If employers in critical businesses choose to offer these to employees, they may. Please stay on the lookout for more information from Colorado State Patrol.
Health practices and social distancing are everyone’s responsibility
In this amended order, everyone, including Critical Businesses, must observe Social Distancing Requirements at all times and to the greatest extent possible. This includes maintaining at least 6 feet between people. Also remember to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, as often as frequently as possible, or use hand sanitizer; cover coughs or sneezes (into sleeve or elbow, not hands); regularly clean high-touch surfaces; and avoid shaking hands.
All businesses are also encouraged to implement telework options and staggered schedules whenever possible. Businesses that have temporarily closed under the order can continue Minimum Basic Operations to protect assets.
Local governments may issue orders that implement requirements above and beyond the statewide order. It is your responsibility to check with your local authorities. See this page for more information on state and local orders.
Pet Animal Welfare
The Department of Agriculture operates the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) program that oversees pet animal welfare. Our PACFA team is busy working on guidance for our pet animal community. Please refer to our latest PACFA guidance for more information.