Updated (6/1/2020)

Federal COVID19 Updates

US Department of Labor (DOL)

Need Help Tracking Work Hours?  DOL has an app to help you and your employees. The DOL-Timesheet App helps track regular work hours, break time, and overtime hours so employees and employers can keep accurate records.

Whistleblower Rights: Reminder it is illegal to retaliate against workers for reporting unsafe and unhealthful working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. April 8 Press Release

New! June 2020: US DOL + CDC Issue Interim Guidance for Agriculture Workers and Employers View Guidance. Agriculture work sites, shared worker housing, and shared worker transportation vehicles present unique challenges for preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

OSHA

Information, interim guidances, and resources released by US DOL - OSHA to prevent and deal with SARS-CoV-2 aka COVID19. OSHA Information on COVID19 | COVID Memos

Suggested NEGFA Staff Read: Compilation of OSHA COVID Guidance for Employers by National Law Review as of May 21.
  1. There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related; and
  2. The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. Defining Objective Evidence & More Info
    Expires: May 26
OSHA COVID19 Risk Pyramid

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Other PPE Related Info
  • April 2 - Availability of PPE is becoming an issue for many non-health care sectors, including agriculture. Getting PPE into the hands of doctors, nurses and first responders is the top priority. The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) reviews potential alternatives for workers in the grain and feed industry.
  • April 21 - Food & Feed Industry Gather List for Obtaining PPE During COVID19 More Info
  • Respirators, PPE, and COVID19 NIOSH Resources

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Approved Disinfectants for COVID19 List N Reminder to follow label instructions!  
  • COVID-19 Memorandum Implications for EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program | Highlights
  • May 11 - EPA Search Tool for Consumers to Find Safe, Effective Disinfectant Products to Use Against COVID19 EPA released its List N Tool, a new web-based application (app) that allows smartphone users and others to quickly identify disinfectant products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The agency transformed the data from the List N webpage (400+ disinfectants) into a browser-based web app that allows users to rapidly identify the disinfectant products best suited for their needs. Users can search by use site (e.g., home, business, health care, etc.), surface type (e.g., hard, non-porous surfaces like countertops; porous surfaces like fabrics), contact time (i.e., the time the product needs to be visibly wet), EPA registration number, active ingredient, or product name.
  • Reminder: Follow the label directions for safe, effective use. Make sure to follow the contact time, which is the amount of time the surface should be visibly wet. Infographic On How To Use These Products
More EPA-COVID Info: EPA's COVID19 Webpage
Nebraska's in EPA Region 7 (Midwest)  |  Region 7 News Releases

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The U.S. food supply remains safe for both people and animals
  • There is NO evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID19 regardless of the status of the worker in a plant.
  • FDA does NOT anticipate that food products will need to be recalled or be withdrawn from the market should a person that works on a farm or in a food facility test positive for COVID19. 
March 18 - FDA Briefing for Foods Stakeholders on COVID19 View Recording

March 18Announces Focus on Safety of Regulated Products While Scaling Back Domestic Inspections COVID19 News Release

April 22 - Temporary Policy for Certain Requirements under the Accredited Third-Party Certification Program During COVID-19. Addresses onsite monitoring activities by providing temporary flexibility so that recognized accreditation bodies (ABs) can maintain the accreditations of certification bodies (CBs), and so that already-issued certifications need not lapse, where certain safeguards are in place. An accredited CB that has issued a certificate with an upcoming expiration date can contact FDA at FDAthirdpartyprogram@fda.hhs.gov to discuss the term of the current certificates. PDF Download

April 24 - FDA + CDC Collaborate on Fact Sheet What Respirators, Masks and Face Coverings are Most Appropriate for Food and Ag Sector During COVID19  PDF Download
 
April 24What to Do If You Have COVID19 Confirmed Positive or Exposed Workers in Your Food Production, Storage, or Distribution Operations Regulated by FDA for Business Continuity Summary from CDC Recommendations  |  PDF Download  |  Reminder Contact Your Local Health Department

May 22 - USDA & FDA Addressed PPE Shortages for Nation's Food Supply Prioritization Guidance

More Info: FDA COVID19 
FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine Food Waste Reuse FAQ Sheet for Animal Food Download

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

March 18 - Expanded FMCSA Emergency Declaration Under 49 CFR § 390.23 No. 2020-002 Effective: March 18 Expires: termination of emergency or 11:39 pm on April 12 whichever occurs sooner.
  • May 13: Extended until 11:59 P.M. (ET), June 14, 2020, or until the revocation of the Presidentially declared COVID-19 national emergency, whichever is sooner.  Press Release

March 19 -  FAQs Related to the FMCSA Emergency Declaration Guidance 


March 25 - FAQs Part 2: Related to the FMCSA Emergency Declaration
  • Adds: wood pulp, feed, and fertilizer as eligible for hours-of-service relief under the emergency declaration because they are a precursor to items that are “essential” for the emergency relief effort.Pet food is not eligible at this time.
Nebraska's Executive Order 20.01 Relating to FMCSA
  • Governor grants conditions facilitating compliance with FMCSA 49 CFR part 390.23 to allow relief from 40CFR parts 390 - 399 from March 13 - May 1, 2020.
  • For commercial motor vehicles, length and weight hauling requirements of federal and state law are suspended through the duration of the motor carrier's assistance in the pandemic relief efforts as granted in the FMCSA exemption and guidances above.
  • Drivers operating under this order shall carry a copy of the proclamation with them as evidence of their direct support to the State of Nebraska during this emergency period.

Waiver for States Concerning Third Party CDL Skills Test Examiners in COVID-19 Emergency Effective: April 9 | Expires: June 30 or upon the revocation of the President’s Declaration of National Emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) concerning the COVID-19 public health emergency, whichever is sooner.

Expanded FAQs for State Driver Licensing Agencies and Commercial Drivers Regarding Permissible Actions During the COVID-19 Emergency Effective: April 13 | Expires: after the public health emergency related to COVID19

New! June 8:FMCSA modifies emergency declaration and extension granting regulatory relief to motor carriers providing COVID19 relief No. 2020-002 Under 49CFR 390.25. The modifications limit the scope of the regulatory relief in the declaration. Effective: June 15 and extend until July 14. Highlights: 

  1. Livestock and livestock feed: Relief is available only to transporters of finished feed. Transporters of feed ingredients are ineligible;
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and
  3. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.  

More Info FMCSA-COVID19: COVID19 Info & Resources | Emergency Declarations, Waivers, Exemptions, Permits  |  Contact: FMCSADeclaration.dot.gov

  • Compliance with DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations DOT Guidance 
  • American Trucking Association Tracking CDL Changes View Chart

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

March 23 – CISA Issues Initial Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during COVID-19 which included human food, animal food, pet food, pet supply, and distribution activities. 
This Guidance is not a federal mandate, and final decision on its use remains with state and local officials, who must determine how to balance public health and safety with the need to maintain and/or more fully return-to-work critical infrastructure personnel in their communities. Questions about Guidance?

March 28  - Issued Critical Food and Ag Sector Version 2.0

April 12 - FEMA Fact Sheet on Personal Protective Equipment Preservation Best Practices

April 17 - Designated as Version 3.0 – changes are more of a cleanup/clarification of the verbiage.  The term “storage” was added so it now reads, “grain and oilseed handling, storage, processing, and distribution” sector.

May 19 - Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released version 3.1 of its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Version 3.1 provides clarity around many individual worker categories, including expanded language for those workers supporting at-risk communities and the essential nature of health facility workers in communities across the country. 
  • Specifically included workers in the pet food, pet supply, and feed ingredient sectors within the broad definition of “animal food.”
  • Added a specific reference to workers at ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable fuel facilities.
  • Broadened transportation and distribution activities to encompass workers in all modes, including rail, barge, and vessel (previous references were only to trucks).
  • Specifically included workers involved in manufacturing biologics and vaccines.
  • Broadened the category of veterinarians designated as critical infrastructure workers to include those caring for pets.
  • Included workers involved in the production, storage, transport, and distribution of equipment used in the food and agriculture industry.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

March 25 - USDA Operations Continue During Shelter in Residence News Release
March 17 - USDA Continues Focus on Service During COVID-19 Outbreak News Release
March 18 - Ag Marketing Service Notice
March 19 - USDA and DOL Announce Information Sharing to Assist H-2A Employers News Release
April 16 - Communicating COVID19 Workplace Safety Practices to Grain Inspection Service Providers
NGFA and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) issued a document conveying information that may be useful in communicating their COVID19 employee workplace safety policies and practices to official inspection and weighing service providers working at their facilities. Full Story
Questions? Contact: foodsupplychain@usda.gov Agricultural labor: aglabor@usda.gov

May 21 - Secretary Perdue Letter to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) regarding the prioritization of PPE for Food and Agricultures Sector View Letter

May 19 - USDA & FDA Sign MOU Outlining Cooperation if Defense Production Act Executive Order 13917 Expanded to FDA-Regulated Foods. In an FDA letter issued to the industry about the MOU, the agency stated, “Although we hope the DPA authority will not need to be invoked, this MOU is an important part of our preparedness efforts to make sure there are processes in place to protect the food supply and prevent significant food shortages during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

May 22 - USDA & FDA Addressed PPE Shortages for Nation's Food Supply Prioritization Guidance

DOL - Wage & Hour Division 

Small Business/HR

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Assistance Loans for Small Business Employers Apply Now
  • US Senate Committee on Small Business - Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act 
  • ​Summary of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act Baylor Evnen (March 18, 2020)
  • HR Compliance Bulletin - New Coronavirus Relief Laws Require Paid Employee Leave View Info
  • HR Compliance Bulletin - Families First Coronavirus Response Act—Questions and Answers
  • HR Compliance Bulletin - Enforcement Expectations of Coronavirus Paid Leave Law Effective April 2020
  • HR Chart How Families First Coronavirus Response Act Affects Your Business View Chart
Cancelled Annual Meetings - You are advised to contact your attorney, read your by-laws to determine the board’s authority, and proceed based on legal counsel’s advice. Your legal counsel may be able to advise you that you can convene the annual meeting and recess it due to a lack of a quorum – but that has to come from your legal counsel. NE Executive Order 20-03

Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

March 26 - Bureau provides a waiver to ethanol producers authorizing the manufacturing of ethanol-based hand sanitizer to address the increased demand. Guidance