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INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

OWA Alerts | Gov. Brown Announcements | Industry Support Letters | Health Resources | Employment Resources 
Business Resources | Insurance Coverage | OLCC | FedEx Shipping | TTB


In this time of deep uncertainty, we recognize business owners are navigating unchartered waters. The Oregon Winegrowers Association is standing with our members and industry. We are committed to providing  up-to-date information in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis so that you can make the wisest decisions for your business and employees. If you have any specific questions that OWA can find the answer to, please reach out to us at info@oregonwinegrowers.org.  

OWA Industry Alerts

Gov. Brown's Announcements

Governor Kate Brown this morning, Mar. 23, issued a new Executive Order with more stringent “Stay in Home” requirements. Unlike other states leaders, Brown chose not to identify “essential” businesses that can continue to operate by allowing employees to go to the workplace, but rather listed business types that must close. In general, those businesses, mostly retail, promote larger gatherings or close contact with customers (e.g.: indoor/outdoor malls, hair salons, gyms, museums). The order preempts local governments from enacting their own measures.

No wine industry function is on this closure list, either vineyard activity or processing at a winery. The Governor’s previous order about winery tasting rooms still stands, which means sales can occur, but no alcohol consumption is allowed.


Some other key provisions:

  • Other businesses are not allowed to open “unless the business designates an employee or officer to establish, implement and enforce social distancing policies, consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority.” Industry members will need to do this immediately for their vineyard and winery operations.
  • Employers must “facilitate telework and work-from-home by employees, to the maximum extent possible.”  If telework or work-from-home is not available, then a business again “must designate an employee or officer to establish, implement and enforce social distancing policies.” 
  • The order directs all individuals to minimize travel, except for essential things such as going to workplaces, obtaining food, healthcare, emergency services, caring for family, or other essential services.
  • A best practice is to give all employees who will report to work a letter confirming that they are employees of the company, which is an “essential business” authorized to continue business.  This sort of letter may be especially comforting to employees concerned about police profiling or selective immigration enforcement.

On Mar. 17 Governor Kate Brown announces social distancing measures to flatten the curve of coronavirus transmission in Oregon. These measures are effective are effective until April 28.

  • Restaurants, bars, and other establishments that offer food or beverages for sale are restricted to carry-out and delivery only with no on-site consumption permitted. This applies to winery tasting rooms.
  • A statewide cancellation of all events and gatherings regardless of size — exempting essential locations like workplaces, grocery stores, pharmacies, and retail stores.
  • The Governor has not mandated shelter-in-place, but rather tightens restrictions in the Stay Home, Save Lives edict. However, it is under consideration. California is now under a statewide shelter-in-place mandate. OWA is monitoring this situation closely and working in concert with the business and agriculture communities to provide input to the Governor on language to include vineyard and winery activities as exempt “essential services” in any forthcoming action. The Governor’s office has been given the following language:
  • Agriculture, including farming, livestock, fishing and all commercial activities in conjunction with cultivation that are necessary for the production, processing, sale and transportation of agriculture products.
  • Food and beverage production, processing, packaging, distribution, transportation, storage, warehousing and delivery services.
  • Restaurants and other facilities, including schools, that prepare and serve food and beverage, but only for delivery, carry out or drive-through.
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences.

Industry Support Letters

Health Resources 

We suggest you monitor the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Oregon Health Authority, and county websites in order to stay informed of the latest developments. 

 

Employment Resources

  • The Oregon Employment Department (OED) launched a new web page with guidance for employers, workers, and job seekers who may be affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus. Please consult this “COVID-19 Related Business Layoffs, Closures, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits” summary. OED has also made available a handout with various COVID-19 scenarios and benefits available for employees. If you have specific questions please email OED.  

  • SAIF has also released a webpage with information and resources about coronavirus/COVID-19 as it relates to workers' compensation and the workplace.

  • US Department of Labor has made available a "Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Q&A"

  • OWA legal counsel Davis Wright Tremaine LLP has a number of COVID-19 employment resources available on its website, including:

    • Guidance: “COVID-19 Practical Considerations and Guidance for Employers”, March 10
    • Guidance: “What Small Employers Should Know About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act”, March 24
    • Webinar: “Proactively Addressing COVID-19 in the Workplace, Part 1”, March 10
    • Webinar: “Proactively Addressing COVID-19 in the Workplace, Part 2”, March 26
  • DWT recommends employers:

  • Communicate with employees about the evolving COVID-19 situation and how it is being addressed in the workplace.
  • Encourage employees to stay home if they are sick and allow them to use paid time off benefits to cover COVID-19 related absences.

  • To the extent feasible, permit employees to work from home in regions where public officials have issued such guidance to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 infection.

  • Provide work from home or paid time off options to employees who are at a higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. 

  • Continue to monitor guidance provided by CDC for businesses and employers and state and local agencies in your region to update plans and communications to employees. The Oregon Health Authority has provided this handout for employers.

  • Implement policies and practices based upon recommendations provided by public health authorities. Be prepared to address with facts and accurate information from reliable sources any workplace concerns based upon misinformation.

Work Share

Work Share provides an alternative for employers and workers who may be facing the prospect of a lay off situation. With Work Share, instead of reducing staff, an employer reduces the hours of work for a group of workers. Partial Unemployment Insurance benefits are then paid to supplement workers' reduced wages.

The employer must select three or more employees with reduced work hours to participate in a Work Share program. Your employer must state that your work hours and wages will be cut by at least 20%, but no more than 40% per week, and that your normal work week is 40 hours or less. To qualify, each employee must have worked full-time for six months, or part-time for 12 months just before the employer’s Work Share plan was submitted. Weekly claims are submitted by the employer. More resources on this program can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The Oregon Employment Department has released temporary rules for unemployment insurance benefits. These news rules allow for more flexibility for eligibility and take effect retroactively to March 8 when the statewide emergency was declared. 

People in the following situations are now deemed eligible for benefits:

  • A person unable to work because they have COVID-19
  • A person unable to work because they have been potentially exposed and are thus quarantining
  • A person unable to work because they have been advised against it by their health care provider or by advise from a public health official to self- quarantine due to possible risk of exposure
  • A person unable to work because their employer has ceased operations due to COVID-19 
  • A person unable to work because they have to stay home to take care of a child due to school closure
  • A person who is being asked to work when it would require them to violate a mandatory quarantine

Federal law usually requires a person to be actively seeking work in order to receive unemployment benefits. These requirements have since been relaxed and an individual will be considered actively seeking work if:

  • They are unemployed because of a COVID-19 related situation
  • Their search for work is significantly impacted by the virus
  • They and their employer intend on the person resuming work once the situation permits
  • They or their employer do not intend for the employee to return to work and the person is doing what they can to find employment

Federal law requires a person to be available for work in order to receive benefits. The temporary rule states that a person will not be deemed unavailable for work if:

  • They are staying in their home, or are quarantined due to risk of exposure to, or spread of, COVID-19 at the advice of a health care provider or public health official
  • They are home to take care of a child home from school
  • They are home to care for a family member due to COVID-19

Please find the full list of requirements here.

  Business Resources

  • The federal CARES Act was signed by President Trump on March 27, providing economic relief for business and workers. It includes, among other provisions:
    • $350 billion in loans to small businesses, self-employed, independent contractors, and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees. Borrowers will be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent during an 8-week period on payroll costs, interest payments on a mortgage, payment of rent, and utility payments. However, the amount will be reduced to reflect a reduction in employees or employee pay from the prior year. Borrowers that re-hire workers previously laid off will not be penalized.
    • A refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit is available to employers whose (1) operations were fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19- related shut-down order, or (2) gross receipts declined by more than 50 percent when compared to the same quarter in the prior year. The credit is provided for wages paid or incurred from Mar. 13, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.
    • The bill increases unemployment insurance benefits by $600/week. It also temporarily extends unemployment insurance to gig workers, self-employed and part-time workers, in addition to extending unemployment insurance benefits by an additional 13 weeks. 
    • Individuals earning less than $75,000 in gross income will receive $1,200 from the government, and households making less than $150,000 will get $2,400, as well as an additional $500 per child.
    • Senator Merkley: Support Available for Small Business in the Coronavirus Relief Packages
    • Senator Wyden: Coronavirus Resources 
    • Senator Wyden: COVID-19 Small Business Relief FAQ
    • Rep. Blumenauer: COVID-19 Economic Stabilization Resources

  • Business Oregon has compiled a list of online resources regarding financial assistance for small businesses in the event of economic impacts due to identified disasters.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program can provide low interest working capital loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations. Disaster loan assistance related to COVID-19 through the SBA is currently available for all 36 Oregon counties. Apply here.

 

Insurance Coverage for Loss of Income

In general the coverage for loss of income on the standard business income policy is triggered by a covered property loss such as a fire, wind, vandalism, but not a pandemic so there is likely no coverage provided for loss of income on these policies. Please consult with your insurance agent. Businesses are encouraged to put together their records of previous years income to compare with this current year in order to be able to demonstrate actual loss sustained once business resumes normal operations. This would be helpful in the event that the Federal or State government offers assistance, loans or grants to businesses impacted by mandated shutdowns.  

 

Oregon Liquor Control Commission

Overview of Delivery and Shipping Wine in Oregon 

The following overview is provided courtesy of OWA legal partner Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

As part of their OLCC Winery license, Oregon wineries automatically have direct shipper privileges to sell and ship wine directly to Oregon consumers:

  • Winery licensee with a TTB Producer and Blender Basic Permit may deliver malt beverages, wine, and cider produced by any manufacturer, not just that winery’s products.  
  • Winery licensee with a TTB Wholesaler Basic Permit may deliver malt beverages from any producer, and may apply to deliver wine or cider brands under the “control” of the licensee (e.g., the brand owner or trademark licensee per ORS 471.223(1)).

Wineries can ship/deliver no more than two cases of wine or cider containing not more than nine liters per case, per month to a resident of Oregon who is at least 21 years of age.  Link to OLCC Guide to Delivery Alcohol in Oregon, which includes detailed Oregon wine shipping and delivery requirements.    

 COVID-19 impact

  • On March 17, 2020, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Brown issued Executive Order 20-07, prohibiting on-premise consumption of food or beverages in Oregon, including at winery tasting rooms.  Off-premises sales, including curbside pick-up and retail and home delivery are still allowed, but must follow social distancing and Oregon Health Authority safety guidelines until Executive Order 20-07 expires on April 14, 2020, unless extended or terminated by the Governor.
  • On March 19, 2020 the OLCC approved temporary emergency rules relaxing certain delivery rules for licensees who qualify for same-day delivery, including licensing, hours of delivery, and signature requirements.  These rules are effective immediately (March 19, 2020) until September 14, 2020.   

     

    Oregon Wine Shipping & Delivery Rules:

    The following apply to both same-day and next-day deliveries:

  • Next-Day delivery - automatically allowed for wineries as part of the OLCC Winery license.
  • Same-Day delivery
    • Application -  Same-day delivery requires an additional application and approval from the OLCC on the Same-Day Delivery form.  There is no fee for this application, and during the temporary rule period a licensee that submits the Same-Day Delivery form electronically is automatically granted same-day delivery privileges for 30 days while the application is processed.
    • Hours of deliveryOLCC normally has limited hours during which wine, cider and malt beverages can be ordered and delivered for same-day delivery.  However, per the temporary emergency rules in effect until Sept. 14, 2020, wineries can deliver anytime between 7:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.
  • ID check – delivery person must verify that the person accepting the wine delivery is 21 or over and is not showing signs of intoxication.
  • Signature – usually an adult signature is required, but the temporary rules eliminated the signature requirement between March 19, 2020 and September 14, 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns.
  • Delivery method -  via winery’s own vehicles or by an OLCC approved For-Hire Carrier (3rd party e-commerce operators must be approved For-Hire Carriers)  
  • Delivery location
    • Residence or business with permanent address
    • Emergency rules allow delivery to a location that is “within 100 feet of the boundary of the licensed premises” (e.g., parking lot or curbside).
  • Records must maintain shipping and delivery records for 18 months.
  • Delivery couriers  - Licensees can utilize e-commerce operators (beverage & food-delivery app couriers) for delivery provided that the e-commerce providers and the licensees comply with amended delivery rules and the temporary policy which can be located here OAR 845-006-0392 and OAR 845-006-0396, and follow the OLCC Interim 3rd party e-commerce Operator Guidelines. As of March 19, an Oregon restaurant can now include wine, cider or beer in an order through GrubHub or any other 3rd party e-commerce operators to consumers so long as the payment for the alcohol is immediately passed along to the licensee. Per the OLCC advisory, 3rd party e-commerce operators who provide actual alcohol delivery services in addition to processing transactions electronically through mobile application or website must still obtain approval as a for-hire carrier.
     

 FedEx Shipping

FedEx is adhering to all regulations and guidelines from government authorities related to containment of COVID-19.  These work and travel restrictions may affect shipments inbound and outbound to and from impacted areas, as well as shipments moving within those areas.  Customers can visit fedex.com or tnt.com to check the status of their shipments.

FedEx Express continues to operate inbound and outbound flights to and from impacted areas as local conditions and restrictions allow, and we are taking recommended precautions in terms of pilot, team member and customer health and safety.

The safety and well-being of our team members is our top priority.  We are closely monitoring guidance by the World Health Organization and other public health organizations, and taking proper health precautions where warranted. We are also encouraging our team members to take any signs of illness seriously and seek medical attention as needed.

In order to do its part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, FedEx is not requiring customers physically sign for most deliveries made in the US. This does not mean adult signatures are not required. FedEx clarified it is not requiring physical signatures for alcohol deliveries (to keep customers from touching the signature pad), but is still requiring the customer to show a valid ID. The FedEx driver will not touch the customer’s ID but they must show it to the driver. If customers do not want to physically sign, drivers are typing “C19” in the signature field to show ID was checked and typing the recipients first initial and last name.  So while the customer is not physically signing, FedEx is still verifying age and noting the package was delivered to an adult. Visit FedEx’s COVID-19 customer site for more details and to learn more about how FedEx is responding as this situation evolves.


Scott Lombardo, FedEx Sales Executive

I would also ask to be kept aware of your Organizations current protocols and preferences so I can be respectful of your wishes and daily operations.  With that and being cognizant that “Social Distancing” is becoming the buzzword, please let me know what new protocols and wishes you have in regards to my presence in your offices and interactions with your staff.  I want to ensure that all of your business rules and wishes are followed to the letter, while still doing my best to support our partnership! Otherwise please know that I am here to support you and your customers just as I always have been.  That will never change. scott.lombardo@fedex.com 503-307-6901

 

Clarification from FedEx Regarding Adult Signature Required

In order to do its part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, FedEx is not requiring customers physically sign for most deliveries made in the US. This does not mean adult signatures are not required. FedEx clarified is not requiring physical signatures for alcohol deliveries (to keep customers from touching the signature pad), but we are still requiring the customer to show a valid ID. The FedEx driver will not touch the customer’s ID but they must show it to the driver. If customers do not want to physically sign, drivers are typing “C19” in the signature field to show ID was checked and typing the recipients first initial and last name.  So while the customer is not physically signing, FedEx is still verifying age and noting the package was delivered to an adult. Visit FedEx’s COVID-19 customer site for more details and to learn more about how FedEx is responding as this situation evolves.

 

TTB

Extension of Excise Tax Filing Deadlines

The TTB recognizes that businesses it regulate are being severely impacted by COVID-19. To assist these businesses during this period, TTB is postponing several filing and payment due dates for 90 days where the original due date falls on or after March 1, 2020, through July 1, 2020. More details can be found here.

Returns of Products Purchased for Event Cancelled Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Federal consignment sales rules generally prohibit the sale or purchase of alcohol beverage products with the privilege of return. See 27 CFR 11.21. Returns for ordinary and usual commercial reasons arising after the product has been sold are not prohibited, but the return or exchange of a product because it is overstocked or slow-moving does not constitute a return for ordinary and commercial reasons. See 27 CFR 11.45.

Local officials and event organizers have begun announcing cancellations of widely-attended events such as parades, festivals, fairs, concerts, and sporting events based on concerns about COVID-19. These announcements may be made after wholesalers and retailers purchased large quantities of products to sell during those events.

Given the unexpected and widespread nature of the concerns involving COVID-19, TTB will not consider returns of alcohol beverage products purchased to sell during such cancelled events to violate Federal consignment sales rules provided the products were not initially purchased or sold with the privilege of return. Even though such returns are lawful, a producer or wholesaler is not required to accept returns of such products.


If you have any questions concerning consignment sales rules, contact tradepractices@ttb.gov.

We expect further guidance from TTB soon.

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6/7/2020
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