SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Monterey County and the local agricultural industry issue a new ag worker advisory.
With March 1st bringing in the first day of Spring, this marks the beginning of an influx of AG workers coming into the Central Coast.
The new ag advisory outlines ways to create a safe and healthy work environment detailing where workers can get tested, employee housing services, transportation, and general COVID-19 information.
This new advisory is the ninth version created so far, dating back nearly a year ago when it was first created. It was originally designed because there were no federal or state guidelines on how ag employment settings should be managed.
This new advisory focuses on the importance of testing since the vaccine is still in short supply.
"We're really happy that vaccines have started, we're still not going to be able to vaccinate everyone quickly or as quickly as we all would like so we have protocols for testing," says Kim Stemler, Executive Director of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association.
The advisory also provides information for those who are sick and are unable to work.
"'We also mention supplemental wage replacement so for those individuals that are unable to work due to COVID, there are community health workers now available to make connections to various forms of supplemental wage replacement," say Stemler.
Lauro Barajas, Regional Director for United Farm Workers commends the county for creating the advisory but feels that the best way to protect farm workers is to vaccinate them.
"Farm workers were essential at the beginning of the pandemic to do the work, they should be essential also to get the benefit of the vaccines," says Barajas.
For now, farm workers 65 and over are able to get the vaccine but this may change during the upcoming weeks to include all ag workers.