On March 23, the Governor of Washington created a list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers that includes Hempler’s as a vital part of the American food supply. We take this responsibility to continue to provide safe, delicious, food to the people of our country while ensuring the safest working conditions for our employees. To that end, here’s what we’re doing and why we’re doing it:
HEALTH and SAFETY
Based on industry guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is no evidence that food or food packaging is associated with the transmission of COVID-19. Also, according to both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), transmission by anything other than person-to-person contact is not typical of this virus, which means the risk of transmission via food and beverage products and ingredients is also very low. That said, we have instituted extra measures to protect both our people and our products. Employee temperatures are being taken upon entry to our facilities and supervisors have been trained to identify signs of the COVID-19 illness. Additional hand sanitizing stations, appropriate for use in food processing facilities, have been installed at all building entrances and we’re reinforcing the importance of personal hygiene and social distancing practices that can prevent the spread of the disease. Our plant undergoes a full sanitation every night, using cleaning solutions known to kill the COVID-19 virus. We have also increased the frequency and scope of cleaning all break rooms and restrooms.
PAID SICK LEAVE
Our employees are provided both Paid Sick Leave and Paid Time Off benefits. They can, and are encouraged to, utilize either of these benefits for absences related to childcare, health issues or health concerns. In addition, we have provided our employees with shift flexibility to best accommodate their personal circumstances.
REMOTE WORKING/TRAVEL GUIDANCE
All corporate travel has been suspended until further notice and all our employees who are able to work remotely are already doing so.
At Hempler’s, we remain in daily contact with the USDA and will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and adjust our policies accordingly. The reason we’ve been in business for nearly 100 years, is not by talking about a commitment to quality and safety, but by living it. Which is something we will continue to do every day.