Because of your due diligence in maintaining safe practices, UC ANR COVID-19 infection rates remain below community rates. Many are weary from the additional effort required to keep loved ones and colleagues safe, and our work is not done. By working together, we can continue to protect those around us, and ourselves. Let's focus on getting through this last push before everyone has had the opportunity for vaccination.
Last week, the Governor and State Public Health Director issued a new Regional Stay At Home Order, requiring additional restrictions and limitations on public activity for portions of the state that are experiencing an impact to hospital ICU capacity. The order mandates that certain businesses may no longer serve customers, restricts the capacity of all retail establishments, and prohibits gatherings with people outside of your household. Over the weekend, two regions – Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley – passed the threshold of reduced ICU capacity that activated the Regional Order. Additionally, five Bay Area Counties issued local health orders that essentially adopted the requirements of the Regional Order immediately. Other counties have issued similar orders or increased stay-at-home restrictions, in advance of being required to do so by the state order.
What does this new order mean for UC ANR? First, stay informed about what is happening in your region and in your county concerning COVID-19 and public health orders. When your location is subject to the Regional Order, or similar local orders, the following adjustments must be made:
1. Research activities and agricultural operations may continue (with existing protective safety protocols), as these are considered critical infrastructure. If you are exploring engaging in new research projects, adopt strict safety standards and be prepared to scale back or cease if further orders may require. If you have questions about what work activities are critical, consult your director or manager.
2. Work remotely as much as possible. Reassess any in-office work; employees should only be coming to the office in the following limited cases:
- Essential business functions needed to support remote work.
- Situations where an employee cannot perform their duties or work effectively remotely.
- Short duration visits to pick up or drop off materials needed for work.
3. Any non-mandatory or non-critical in-person gatherings, meetings, or activities that bring together members of different households must be suspended. This means that 4-H meetings, Master Gardener activities, Master Food Preservers events, or other volunteer programs or workshops may only continue remotely/online.
This is a critical time in the fight against COVID-19. These additional restrictions are needed to “bend the curve” yet again, to bring down the rate of infection in the community and reduce the strain on our healthcare system.
Throughout the summer and early fall, UC ANR has had a very low rate of COVID-19 infections among our employees. However, as the rate of COVID-19 cases is currently surging statewide, UC ANR is also seeing an increase in cases among our employees, similar to the communities where we are located. Please continue your diligence to stay safe at home and at work to keep UC ANR working to serve our clientele.
Director, Risk & Safety Services