COVID-19 Daily Viticulture Update 3/24/2020

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COVID-19 Daily Viticulture Update 3/24/2020

Dear grape and wine community

The Covid-19 pandemic has already hurt the business. Trying to adjust to the “new normal” of a world of social distancing brings a lot of unexpected and unprecedented challenges. Our daily updates will hopefully help cope with this reality a little bit better and may even help to mitigate some of the economical problems due to this pandemic. 

Wine Returns, Hand Sanitizer Production and TBB Approvals:

To avoid delays or disruption to your operations during this period, we strongly encourage you to use our online filing options for all necessary TTB approvals. More Information: Wine America Post here

How to file for a permission to produce ethanol based handsanitizers (for distilled spirits producers)

Note from Wine America on possible returns of alcoholic beverages after cancellation of events

Wine Institute: Reinforcement of prohibition of on-site consumption

News and Resources from Hotel, Restaurant and Event Businesses:

Looking into the impacts on the hotel industry in NC,  22,787 direct hotel-related jobs and 88,225 total jobs that support the hotel industry had been lost since the arrival of COVID-19 in North Carolina. {Direct quotes from hoteliers are included – https://ncrla-covid-19.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/AHLA-NC-One-Pager-.pdf}

The Asheville Grown Business Alliance has put together information and resources to help support local businesses in Western NC to gain access to financial assistance. https://ashevillegrown.com/covid-19

According to the NCRLA (NC Restaurant and Lodging Association), they added today that restaurant workers considered “essential employees” can be asked to come to work despite shelter-in-place orders. https://ncrla-covid-19.org/

Furthermore, the NCRLA asks Congress for further provisions to the “Small Business Interruption Loan Program” that will provide additional financial support to small businesses. https://ncrla-covid-19.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Small-Biz-Letter-SBA-7a-Enhancements-in-COVID-32.pdf

For more information on the loan program, the American Hotel and Lodging Association will be hosting a webinar on March 26 at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_52eyonfTQ4qHC0k3_ljikA

NC State Resources:

Webinars: How to create your own online store?

Daily NC and Global COVID-19 Update:

As of 3/24/2020, 9:45 a.m.: a total of 8,502  people in NC were tested for the virus. 398 people in NC were tested positive. As of now, NC has no COVID-19 related deaths.

NCDHHS Coronavirus Information Page

As of 3/24/2020, 7:41 p.m.: 417,966 people worldwide are known to be infected with the virus. 18,615 people worldwide have died due to COVID-19.

World-Wide Covid-19 GIS Tracker  

Internet Connectivity Survey NC Farm Bureau:

The North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office, with the Friday Institute at NC State University, is conducting a five-minute survey to gather data on internet connectivity from North Carolina farmers. LINK to the Survey: NC State Internet Connectivity Survey  General questions about the Internet Connectivity Survey for NC Farmers can go to Angie Bailey, Broadband Infrastructure Office: angie.bailey@nc.gov, 919-817-0541. 

Our survey:

Please take our COVID-19 Survey. This is important so that we can support our community in the best way we can. Not one of us has experienced something like this before, and we were not prepared. We need to know what you think so that we can respond better to this emergency. The survey is anonymous and will only take 3 min.

TAKE OUR COVID-19 SURVEY

Keep your sanity?

Here are some links to advice and resources that night help to cope, process, and maintain health and sanity during this crisis. We are working with our team and health professionals to create more resources, hoping to expand resources on this kind of support in the coming weeks.

The Science of Well-Being , Yale University’s course with challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits (audit course for free via Coursera)

The CDC’s guide to managing stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak

H2-A Labor:

As we mentioned yesterday, new H-2A visas are not being processed as U.S. embassies close down. But in response to a foreseeable labor shortage, the USDA and DOL have put together a resource page to keep those affected updated on the situation. One of the important takeaways from the website is as follows:

“USDA and DOL have identified nearly 20,000 H-2A and H-2B certified positions that have expiring contracts in the coming weeks. There will be workers leaving these positions who could be available to transfer to a different employer’s labor certification. The data, available below, includes the number of certified worker positions, the current employer name and contact, attorney/agent name and contact, and the worksite address. This information will be a resource to H-2A employers whose workforce has been delayed because of travel restrictions or visa processing limitations. Employers should be aware that all statutory and regulatory requirements continue to apply. Employers are encouraged to monitor www.travel.state.gov for the latest information and should monitor the relevant Embassy/Consular websites for specific operational information.”

In order to get access to the data they reference, go to their website for a pdf or excel document.

For other H-2A resources and updates, please refer to these links:

www.usembassy.gov

COVID-19 Restrictions on U.S. Visas and Entry

In general, while some businesses have to lay off labor, others are probably in need due to increased traffic. Please us the NC Farm Link homepage and contact your local Extension Agent if you are in need of labor or if you need to lay off people. You will help them and your community.

Food Safety

As we’ve mentioned in our previous blog posts, this current health crisis makes it important to keep your food, employees, and yourself safe. But it is also important to note that the USDA is not aware of any links between virus transmission and food consumption. Nevertheless, it’s still critical that farmers, employees, and customers feel safe throughout the production process. See the resources listed below to find helpful food safety guidelines.

COVID-19 Farmers Market Guidelines

COVID-19 U-Pick Guidelines

COVID-19 Community Garden Guidelines

FDA Food Safety Guidelines

Online alternative marketing resources:

Free online website building services 

How to create a google order form video (YouTube)

Farmers Market Health and Safety Guidelines

Gatherings of Less than 50 People Guidelines 

NCSU Horticulture COVID-19 Farming Resources

NCSU Local Food Recommendations 

This post was created by Emma Volk (evolk@ncsu.edu), Emily Mueller (emuelle@ncsu.edu) and Mark Hoffmann