Mar 18, 2020
Ag exempted from Monterey County shelter-in-place COVID order
Stephen Kloosterman

Monterey County Seal
Monterey County Seal

Monterey County, one of the most productive specialty crop areas in the U.S., has exempted farms and food-related businesses are being exempted from its shelter-in-place order.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, as of March 17 had been linked to 7,426 deaths by the Worldwide Health Organization. Efforts in many U.S. states to slow the virus’s spread have included shutting down schools, sporting events and other large social gatherings.

Monterey County, like San Francisco Bay County, has issued a shelter-in-place order restricting people to their homes, unless they are exempted in some circumstances, including agriculture production.

The shelter-in-place order’s agricultural exemption includes:

“Any form of cultivation of products for personal consumption or use, including farming, ranching, livestock, and fishing, and associated activities, including, but not limited to, activities or businesses associated with planting, growing, harvesting, processing, cooling, storing, packaging, and transporting such products, or the wholesale or retail sale of such products, provided that, to the extent possible, such businesses comply with Social Distancing Requirements and otherwise provide for the health and safety of their employees.”

Other exemptions included grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, in addition to banks, hardware stores, gas stations and certain service providers including plumbers.

Social distancing as outlined by the California Department of Public Health calls for people staying 6 feet away from each other.

Monterey County produced $2.8 billion worth of vegetables in 2018, in addition to $1 billion in fruits and nuts, and $52 million in nursery crops in 2018, according to an annual report from the county.

Stephen Kloosterman is the managing editor of Organic Grower.

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