On September 24, 2021, Washington’s Departments of Labor & Industries (L&I) and Health made very minor updates to the existing COVID-19 (coronavirus) safety rules for temporary worker housing (TWH) in the agriculture industry to align with Governor Inslee’s current “Washington Ready” Proclamation (20-25.17). As a reminder, as of the end of June the agriculture industry no longer has its own COVID-19 safety compliance requirements, but is instead covered under the larger “Washington Ready” proclamation and associated rules, including L&I’s Requirements and Guidance for Preventing COVID-19 and the Updated COVID-19 Facial Covering Guidance. The original TWH rules (as previously modified in September, January, May 21, and May 28) are still in effect, but with these minor changes:
Free face coverings for all occupants: Housing operators must provide cloth face coverings to all occupants, not just those who are unvaccinated, at no cost.
Instruct occupants and visitors to use face coverings: Housing operators must instruct occupants and visitors to use cloth face coverings in compliance with public health orders, which means in public and in TWH whenever possible. Importantly, this doesn’t change the fact that masks aren’t required to be worn by occupants who are verified as fully vaccinated when the occupant is in an indoor space that’s not generally accessible to the public and that’s free of visitors, including occupants of other group shelter TWH.
Tips: Agricultural employers are finally starting to see some of the many COVID-19 specific requirements remain relatively stable or become consolidated. This started at the end of June when the agriculture COVID-19 safety requirements went away and have continued with the two minor changes referenced above to the TWH rules. If you have questions about the requirements that remain, contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney or Vigilant safety professional.