California Governor Gavin Newsom signs executive order to give relief to food industry workers

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that he has signed an executive order to help essential workers in the food supply chain, including workers in the delivery and fast-food industries, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom said there will be “two weeks of supplemental sick leave for workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have been exposed to isolation or quarantine orders by local health officials or state or federal officials.”

“I think about the people that grow our food, that pick our food, the people that pack our food, deliver our food, cook, serve and sell our food,” Newsom said. “That sector by definition is essential to our livelihoods … it has been hard hit by strife and by challenges in terms of health and safety … This is a serious issue and requires a serious response.”

“I hope this will significantly address the anxiety some of farmworkers have and some of the anxiety our fast food workers have and the anxiety around the delivery of our food … and the anxiety those workers have about their own health. We don’t want you going to work if you’re sick. And we want to let you know that if you’re sick it’s OK to acknowledge it … and to know you’re going to get a supplemental paycheck for a minimum of two weeks.”

Meanwhile, more than 24,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the state, which has seen 890 fatalities since the virus broke out, according to California’s health department. The governor said 69 more Californians have died in the last 24 hours and amount of people in intensive care has had a modest increase in the last day to 1,191 patients.

Residents in the state are living under a stay-at-home order. Schools have shut their doors and many businesses are closed in response to the spreading virus.

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