COVID-19 Resources for RI Farmers
The Rhode Island Division of Agriculture is following guidance issued by the Governor's office, Department of Administration; White House and other federal partners including: freeze on non-essential employee business travel outside of the state; staff is utilizing teleworking where possible; utilizing teleconference and online collaboration with out-of-state colleagues when possible; and postponing and/or cancelling events.
We are actively speaking with producers and various agricultural organizations across the state in order to minimize the negative impact on growers and address your concerns and issues. Please continue to communicate your questions and concerns to us. We will do our best to respond and share as much information as we can during this time.
In addition, DEM has implemented a Department plan which complies with all applicable internal agency policies and state regulations. Staff are aware and are ready to follow procedures to ensure functions critical to the division and industry needs are met and carried out in the interest of public safety and public health. Critical functions include:
- Investigation of animal welfare complaints, responding to animal health events, enforcement of state animal importation regulations that are in place to protect both animal and public health, and support of our sister agencies such as the Department of Health, RIEMA, and DEM/Divisions of Fish and Wildlife and Law Enforcement as they carry out their critical missions;
- Conducting certification of agricultural commodities in order to facilitate their movement and sales. This includes inspection and phytosanitary certification of plant material for domestic and international shipment, and organic certification of agricultural crops and livestock;
- Providing critical Produce Safety education, outreach, technical assistance. Investigating any complaints or for-cause produce inspections. Providing support for produce farms to allow for market access.
All guidance for re-opening a non-critical retail business on May 11th can be found here: www.reopeningri.com/ under business guidelines. The following points are referenced from the Phase I Non Critical Retail Guidance.
- In order to open, or continue to operate, all non-critical retail businesses must check-off, sign and visibly post the Non-critical Retail Compliance Attestation Poster by May 11th and review all associated business guidance found on the Reopening RI webpage. The Phase I: General Business Guidelines are particularly helpful.
- Additionally, these non-critical retail businesses must complete a COVID-19 Control Plan by May 18th. A template for this is found here: COVID-19 Control Plan: Template. This plan does not need to be submitted, but must be on-site and available for review.
- Access to interior areas: If a store permits in-person shopping, capacity is limited to 1 customer per 300 square feet of floor area. Very small stores, under 300 square feet of floor area, may only allow one customer at a time in the store. Browsing is encouraged to be brief and limited.
- Partitions: It is recommended that check-out areas have see-through barriers between employees and customers.
Below we have compiled information from various sources for your reference to help support your business and to protect yourself, employees, and consumers.