COVID 19 Basic Requirements for All Workplaces
The Washington Wine Institute has partnered with the Washington State Labor and Industries (L&I) agency for 2022-2023 to provide our members, and at certain times, the whole WA wine industry with educational opportunities and consistent communications on our state’s laws and rules around wages, labor practices, workplace safety, and all the elements of running a business that is regulated by L&I.
Today, we bring you a reminder of what L&I requires of all employers related to COVID-19.
At a minimum, all employers must do the following:
- Keep workers known or suspected to have COVID-19 from working around others by following appropriate isolation guidance as outlined by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).
- Provide hand washing facilities and supplies, and regularly clean and sanitize surfaces.
- Educate workers about COVID-19 prevention in the language they understand best.
- Provide written notice of potential COVID-19 exposure within one business day to all workers, and the employers of subcontracted workers, who were at the same work site as a person who tested positive (without disclosing the person’s identity).
- Report COVID-19 outbreaks to L&I within one business day when they involve 10 or more workers at a workplace or job site with more than 50 workers.
- Address COVID-19 notification, reporting, and prevention measures in the employer’s workplace-specific, written Accident Prevention Program or equivalent safety program.
- Allow workers to voluntarily wear masks (respirators, medical procedure masks, or cloth face coverings) and personal protective equipment (PPE) as long as it doesn’t create a safety or security issue.
Where masks are still required:
- In health care settings, including long-term care settings (home/hospice) and correctional facilities.
- The healthcare mask sign is also available in Russian, Spanish & Vietnamese.
Nothing Changes and WWI is Prepared to Push Back
This past week some of our members may have seen news articles covering a recent DTC wine shipping proposal that is coming from a non-profit group called the Uniform Law Commission (ULC). Below is an update on this work by our colleagues at WineAmerica, who work every day to watch our back within the halls of Congress as well as anything political or regulatory that impacts American wineries. If you are not a WineAmerica member yet, we strongly encourage you to join and help strengthen their efforts in Washington D.C. As stated well below, the work done in tracking this issue, removing the worst parts of the proposal if adopted, and now preparing to defend DTC in our state capital (and all 47 state capitals where winery DTC shipping is allowed) is an excellent example of the value you receive as a WWI member as well as being part of WineAmerica. Make no mistake, as we have done many times in the past, we WILL be ready if any attempts are made to threaten our DTC wine shipping privileges during the 2023 legislative session and beyond.
The Uniform Law Commission is a non-profit group of lawyers from around the country who draft and develop laws for state legislatures to adopt. The idea is that standardized laws are better for states in order to avoid confusion. Approximately three years ago they started looking into DTC shipping of beer and spirits, but that morphed to looking primarily at existing wine DTC laws. This was done without any real input from the wine industry. We must stress that this is only a model law. It does not change any state laws regarding DTC shipping as it has not been introduced in any state legislature. However, the ULC does recommend that states should adopt this legislation.
We must stress that this is merely a proposal that was approved by the ULC. No state laws have changed, but we need to be vigilant as an industry to make sure that our hard won DTC rights are not rolled back. This is a great example of the value of winery trade associations on both state and national levels, as well as the value of WineAmerica.
The new WA Wine specialty license plate goes into effect November 1, 2022, so set your calendars for 11/1/22 to put your request in for a new license plate honoring our state’s wine industry. We want to thank the incredible energy and hard work of our prime sponsor Rep. Chambers, our friends in the tourism industry pushing alongside us to get the bill done, and every WWI member and WA winery that signed the petition, sent requests out to their wine clubs and colleagues to sign the petition, those that signed in with support on the bill throughout the legislative process, and all other efforts that got HB 1530 to the finish line this year.