OAN Coronavirus Resources

Page Updated May 8, 2020, 530 p.m. PST



'Reopening Oregon' plan issued May 7

On Thursday, May 7, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced the Reopening Oregon: Details on Restarting Public Life and Business plan. Under this plan, Oregon counties may begin to reopen as early as May 15, provided that they apply to reopen and provided that certain requirements are met. These include a two-week drop in new COVID-19 infections, sufficient safety equipment for doctors and health care workers, sufficient hospital beds to care for COVID-19 patients, and available tests and the means to track COVID-19 infections.

Reopening will happen in three phases. Phase I will involve lower risk activities. Phase II will involve higher risk activities. Counties must remain in Phase I for at least 21 days before entering Phase II. Phase III will involve highest-risk activities and will not happen until there is a reliable treatment or vaccine for the COVID-19 illness. Until counties are admitted to Phase I, they must remain under the Stay Home Executive Order 20-12 PDF that was issued on March 23. That order allows retail and wholesale nurseries to continue operating at their discretion in all Oregon counties.

Details on the reopening plan can be found at the governor's COVID-19 Resources for Oregonians page.

Further details on the reopening plan:

Stay Home, Save Lives order issued March 23

On Monday, March 23, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20–12 PDF which mandates social distancing. 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 industry 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.

National Map

The Nursery & Landscape Association Executives of North America (NLAE) group has launched a one-stop tool for green industry businesses to see how operations and shipments to and within various North American states and provinces are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The map is hosted by NLAE. It was developed by a partnership comprised of OAN, the Arizona Nursery Association and NLAE, with contributions from various other state trade associations.

OAN Resources

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.

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)

In the news

Digger magazine

Digger magazine, published by OAN, is committed to covering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the green industry in Oregon and elsewhere. Watch this space for updates, or go to www.DiggerMagazine.com.

Government resources

State of Oregon

U.S. Federal Government

Global

Green industry resources

In addition to this OAN resource page, the following are available. Please note the list is not exhaustive and is subject to change at any time:

National

States and Provinces

Business/other resources

National

Oregon

Scientific resources

Avoiding scams

As with any crisis or anything that makes headlines, there will be people working together for the common good — and there will be criminals seeking to exploit any fears and uncertainties that people may be feeling. Here are some tips, courtesy of the Oregon Bankers Association, to help you stay on guard against the latter.

2020 Farwest Show

Late this summer, the 2020 Farwest Show will take place August 26–28 at the Oregon Convention Center. This is our industry's showcase to the nation. We are planning for the show to take place as scheduled, and hopeful the threat will have subsided by then. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and take all prudent precautions to ensure a safe and successful show for exhibitors, presenters and guests.