Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has issued guidance for the agriculture industry on essential businesses and how those businesses can mitigate against COVID-19 while maintaining essential operations to ensure access to food. On March 16, Governor Tom Wolf strongly urged non-essential businesses across the state to close for at least 14 days to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
"As the commonwealth takes steps to mitigate against COVID-19 and continues to strive for a healthy Pennsylvania for all, businesses across the state have been asked to consider if they're essential or not," said Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. "Agriculture's role is unquestionable: access to food is a right; we need local agriculture now more than ever."
Essential businesses for a safe and accessible food supply include greenhouses and vegetable plants, distribution and transportation system from processors and manufacturers to retailers, retailers to include grocery stores and farmers markets, grocery delivery services, laboratories, and inspectors that ensure food safety, among others.
The Wolf Administration encourages these operations, especially food production and distribution facilities, to continue operations and issued guidance for essential operations to continue with procedures that will protect both employees and the public from COVID-19.
The department has issued voluntary guidance and recommendations for businesses throughout the food supply chain.
"We encourage all producers to actively practice this guidance to ensure the security of our food supply," added Redding. "During these uncertain times, all of Pennsylvania is counting on the industry to continue to provide for our most basic needs."