REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Food Processor Webinar Introduction
July 8, 2020
Good afternoon everyone.
When I first declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus on March 8 – a little over 16 weeks ago – there were 14 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon.
As of Sunday, we surpassed 10,000 cases. Many of these cases have affected the network of our people who grow, process, and distribute food – in our communities.
Here in Oregon we find ourselves at a crossroads. What comes next is up to us.
As we move through this pandemic, we must ensure that we mitigate the spread of this disease and contain it when it does appear in industries that provide essential services.
We know that the disease is able to spread more quickly in indoor workplaces where the nature of the work does not allow folks to stay physically distant.
Oregon’s food processing and agricultural workers have been on the frontlines during this COVID-19 crisis, working tirelessly to put food on tables across the state and around the world.
Under my Stay Home order, our state has led the nation in flattening the curve and preventing the spread of the virus.
However, as we’ve begun to reopen over the past few weeks, we have seen an alarming spread of COVID-19 across Oregon cities, small towns, and rural communities.
With outbreaks of COVID-19 at food processing and agricultural facilities around the U.S. and here in Oregon, we have to continue to take bold and decisive action to keep workers healthy.
With the guidance and support outlined in the toolkit and playbook, we know we can slow the rate of infection.
I want to thank the teams at the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon OSHA and Oregon Health Authority, who have collaborated with food processors to present a plan to ensure the safety of our food processing workers and the economic viability of our agricultural sector.
This webinar serves a dual purpose: to make sure everyone is on the same page for how we plan to move forward, and to give folks a chance to provide feedback and ask questions.
We’re only going to be able to accomplish this if we do it together. We need everyone’s buy-in to build a safer and stronger Oregon for everyone.
So with that, I’ll turn it over to Jason to take it from here. Thank you.