OAN Coronavirus Resources

Page Updated April 3, 2020, 3:30 p.m. PST



Stay Home, Save Lives order issued March 23

On Monday, March 23, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued her newest in a series of executive orders — Executive Order 20–12 PDF — related to the COVID-19 pandemic, aka Coronavirus, and the efforts to prevent transmission. This order marks a major shift from merely recommending social distancing, to mandating it. People are being told to stay at home unless necessary: "Stay Home, Save Lives" is the message.

Wholesale and retail nurseries in Oregon may continue to operate at their discretion. The executive order prohibits certain activities, but wholesale and retail nurseries are not listed and therefore may remain open for business. We have confirmed this with Gov. Brown's chief of staff, as well as Alexis Taylor, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. However, the executive order imposes some requirements for those businesses that continue to operate:

OAN office closed, employees working from home

OAN employees remain on the job, working from home to assist you, but the OAN office has closed until further notice to reduce exposure opportunities and protect employees and their families. We are doing our best to respond promptly but ask for your patience. Please contact us individually by email, or email info@oan.org and we will direct your inquiry to the staff person who can best respond promptly.

Retail businesses:
  • Must "(designate) an employee or officer to establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies, consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority."
  • "Retail businesses that fail to comply will be closed until they demonstrate compliance."
ALL workplaces:
  • Must "facilitate telework and work-at-home by employees, to the maximum extent possible."
  • Must designate someone "to establish, implement and enforce social distancing policies" when telework is not possible.
  • Can be closed until they demonstrate compliance.

For more information on Executive Order 20–12 and its exact requirements, please see this outline developed by OAN legal counsel Jordan Ramis PC PDF

Our message

From OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone's column (Digger magazine, April 2020):

The nursery and greenhouse industry has always done business on a handshake. Employees work shoulder to shoulder to produce top quality plants at their nurseries, and nursery leaders likewise work hand in hand to move the industry forward. That is our tradition.

The emergence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States might change the physical interactions and mechanics of our industry, but it must not change our fundamental nature. We are still built on relationships.

The health of our families, employees, customers, vendors and partners remains paramount. Panic is not our friend, but rationality is. While COVID-19 is not likely to be lethal for most of the population, we must recognize the danger that it poses for vulnerable individuals. We urge every nursery business to implement logical, common-sense practices, as required by authorities, to reduce transmission, thereby keeping more people safe and making the public health response the most effective it can be.

We value what you contribute to our green industry and greatly appreciate your support. All green businesses (OAN member or not) will have access to this page and its compiled information for the duration of this pandemic. We are all in this together.

Contents

This page includes the following recommended resources to inform your approach to the coronavirus pandemic:

If you have resources to suggest adding, please contact Curt Kipp at ckipp@oan.org or Beth Farmer at bfarmer@oan.org.

OAN Resources

Webinar

Agricultural consulting and accounting firm K·Coe Isom, in conjunction with OAN, presented a webinar on the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act), which provides $2 trillion in economic aid, including $10 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and $350 billion for Paycheck Protection Loans to help small businesses.

  • Virtual Town Hall webinar on CARES Act, SBA loans, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) — NEW
    • Replay (COMING SOON) — NEW
    • PowerPoint presentation PDFNEW
    • See Small Business Administration (Under Federal Government, below) for details

Wholesale

For wholesale growers (and also retailers) who have lost workers to the COVID-19 pandemic and need help, we have created a special page listing nurseries indicating that they need seasonal help. This is for production labor to fill peak shipping/sales needs. All must state they are following social distancing protocols as required by the state.

Retail

Many OAN member retailers are taking extra steps to provide eager gardeners with a "Safer Shopping" experience. They're offering advance ordering (by email, web or phone), curbside pickup, home delivery, special hours, online seminars and more. The OAN is compiling a list of these retailers in Oregon and SW Washington as a service to gardeners as well as retailers, and has posted it on the Plant Something Oregon consumer website. It is updated regularly:

Legal

The OAN's legal counsel Jordan Ramis PC is closely tracking local, state, and federal developments related to COVID-19. Jordan Ramis is advising the OAN on issues of general interest, and the OAN is circulating that information to our members. Unlike many industry legal issues which fall under the OAN's Legal Access program, in this case, specific legal advice regarding workforce issues need to be handled on a case-by-case basis under an attorney-client relationship. Jordan Ramis lawyers are available to set up new client matters to assist our members during these difficult times. To retain the firm, please contact Peter Hicks at peter.hicks@jordanramis.com or Steve Shropshire at steve.shropshire@jordanramis.com.

Attorney Peter Hicks of Jordan Ramis PC has suggested the following approach when it comes to nursery employees:

  • Tell employees to stay home if they are sick.
  • Tell employees you will send them home if they show up sick.
  • Make employees aware that there is no penalty for taking leave they are entitled to by law, such as employee sick leave or leave taken through the Oregon Family Leave Act. Leave entitlement varies depending on the size of your business and whether you offer leave benefits that exceed the minimum legal requirements.
  • Be particularly careful with workforce reductions (seasonal or otherwise). Under these circumstances there is an increased risk of possible sickness-related retaliation claims. Given this risk, we recommend you consult with counsel before taking any such actions.
  • Businesses will be positioned differently depending on the total number of employees, so it is important to know which leave laws apply to your business. 

To provide legal guidance the OAN is offering the following articles in partnership with Jordan Ramis PC:

Advocacy

Whether your business is a wholesale grower, nursery retailer, landscape business, supplier, service provider or more than one of these, the OAN is concerned about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on you, your employees and your business. We are in constant communication with the governor's office and legislators so that your concerns are heard and understood. The Legislature has formed a Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response to consider relief measures for the Oregon Legislature to consider during a special session that is likely to be called the week of March 30. Updates will be posted here. Members may contact OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone at jstone@oan.org with their input, concerns and questions.

Government resources

State of Oregon

U.S. Federal Government