Covid – Now What?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten several emails and phone calls about how to prepare for seasonal workers this fall. I’m quite glad folks are thinking this far in advance because getting prepared for handing an influx of workers while keeping everyone as safe as possible and keeping the gins running is no small task.

The short answer is we just don’t know, at this point, what the landscape could look like later this week, much less later this year. The way most folks are acting right now and the way the infection rates have been for the past two months points to things being pretty much ‘normal’ for ginning season BUT…we just don’t know what things will look like moving forward.

Don’t get me wrong, I really want things to be normal going forward but I would rather have a mindset that thinks we’ll need to work with the same ideas as far as sanitization and personnel sleeping, shift times to reduce congregating around a time clock etc.. and never need to implement than to get caught flat footed. Additionally, a lot of those same protocols will help if you ever get the flu to go through your gin. That’s no fun either. The flu isn’t nearly as contagious as SARS-CoV2 but it can be just as much of a pain the business.

Will there need to be barriers and restricted entry as many gins did last fall? PROBABLY not but you can see how much of that is still staying up in places.

I will tell you I get news letters and read websites every day regarding this very issue from attorneys and HR firms and… NONE of them is certain about the future. Can you mandate vaccinations? Maybe…maybe not…Should you require masks?… Maybe…maybe not. If you ask an attorney, they are going to give you the most conservative answer in general. When they are wishy washy on an answer to these and similar questions…. they REALLY don’t know. The fact is this year and a half has been one big experiment. We’ve tested lock downs, social distancing, masks and now experimental vaccines (yes they are still considered experimental…currently under emergency use authorization).

We will still be in this great big experiment in the fall. Do we know how to proceed with ginning season this year? No, we don’t. I haven’t written much about this in the past few months because I typically like to send you things that have some concrete information. We’re still ‘squishy’ on this and yes, that is a technical term. I just don’t know how to tell you to prepare for this fall. Use common sense is my best advice TODAY. Stay in touch with your crew and see what their status is. Have they all been vaccinated or had Covid or both? They may tell you that you need to do something different than a group that has not. You get the picture.

I hope we’ll have a better picture by the time we get to the meetings in late Aug or Sept but today, we don’t have much solid advice to give you. As always, give us a call if you have questions.