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

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  

OWA Industry Alerts

Gov. Brown's Announcements


Employment Resources

DWT Guidance

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
  • Guidance: “USDOL Publishes Temporary Regulations Interpreting FFCRA”, April 9
  • Guidance: “FFCRA leave Documentation: What is Required and What is Recommended?” April 9
  • Guidance: “New COVID-19 Developments for Employer Sponsored Health Plans,” April 11
  • Webinar: “FFCRA Part 2,” April 14
  • Guidance: "FFCRA Overview," April 15
  • Guidance: "Alcohol Beverage Suppliers, Charitable Promotions, and Commercial Co-Venturers," May 14 (NEW)

Oregon wine industry task force

A task force comprised of industry members statewide has just released a document outlining Guidelines for Wine Tasting Room Operations in Response to COVID-19. This document has been endorsed by the boards of 11 state and regional wine associations, including the Oregon Winegrowers Association.

Please share these guidelines widely. In general, the group recommends a "Slow and Safe" approach to re-opening, and advises that tasting rooms ensure they are prepared to operate safely and in compliance before re-opening. 


Oregon Health Authority

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has released these requirements for businesses concerning mask and face coverings. OHA also released general guidance for employers regarding safe practices. Updates from OHA regarding COVID-19 can be found here

Davis Wright Tremaine offered this guidance:
As tasting rooms begin to re-open in certain Oregon counties today, a question has arisen whether mask wearing can be required of patrons when this is not required as part of Phase One reopening. There are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • A policy requiring a mask must be applied in a standard, non-discriminatory way.  For example, the policy should be applied to all tasting room guests, not just guests over the age of 60.
  • A patron could potentially make a disparate treatment claim based on lack of access to masks and therefore inability to comply with a mask requirement. Since such a case has not been tested in the courts, the likelihood of success of such a claim is an open question and there may be some risk of liability to business owners. To mitigate that risk, masks could be provided by the business to patrons, and to avoid the risk altogether the business could make the mask-wearing policy a request rather than a requirement.
  • The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that an accommodation or exception to a mask requirement be made for anyone who has a health condition or other reason they cannot wear a mask. If a patron indicates they are unable to wear a mask, it is not advised to question the patron further and the patron should not be asked to leave.
  • Recommendation: While it is likely okay to require patrons to wear masks, there is some risk since this has not been tested in the courts. Tasting rooms could instead have a policy strongly recommending/requesting patrons wear masks, and may want to consider making masks available to patrons who do not bring their own. This may help avoid a public relations challenge posed by a disgruntled customer. This policy should be communicated broadly (on websites, in reservation confirmations, on the winery premises, etc.). If desired, tasting rooms could include a disclaimer in online reservation confirmations that the patron acknowledges and will abide by certain guidelines. However this does not provide blanket legal protection from claims.

Oregon Employment Dept.

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.  

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


Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The Oregon Employment Department 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. Please find the full list of requirements here.



SAIF has also released a webpage with information and resources about coronavirus/COVID-19 as it relates to workers' compensation and the workplace. SAIF has also established a Coronavirus Worker Safety Fund to provide grants for workplace safety.


Recently OSHA released a temporary rule addressing the COVID-19 emergency in employer-provided housing and in labor-intensive agricultural operations. Please see the Q&A and Overview for more information. Oregon OSHA also has general guidance related to COVID-19, as well as resources and Q&A to help continue to keep workers safe during this pandemic. 

Oregon Farm Bureau

The Oregon Farm Bureau has prepared interim guidance for agricultural operations related to COVID-19. The guidance is intended to assist agricultural businesses in minimizing workplace exposure the COVID-19 virus.




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


     This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Business Resources

CARES Act Federal Assistance

The federal CARES Act signed into law on March 27 provides economic relief for businesses and workers. Davis Wright Tremaine announced this updated version of its handy, four-page side-by-side contrasting key components of the two emergency financial assistance programs enabled by last month’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 


The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities


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.

Employee Retention Tax Credit.

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 tax credit is available to small businesses who do not participate in the Paycheck Protection Program.

Business Oregon

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. 

Dept. of Revenue

Initial quarterly payments for the new Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) are due April 30, 2020. The department understands that the pandemic may impact commercial activity, up or down, to an extent that makes it difficult for businesses to estimate their first payment. The department will not assess underpayment penalties to taxpayers making a good faith effort to estimate their first quarter payments. You can find more information about CAT estimated tax payments here.


Local Grant Resources

Some local governments have or are making available grants for small business. Grant windows are often open only for only a few days and it can be easy to miss the application period. We recommend you check your local and county websites regularly for opportunities. OWA lobbying partner Crosswater Strategies put together a list of current grant opportunities.


Oregon Liquor Control Commission

On May 15, OLCC published guidance on how to notify OLCC if a licensee needs to expand its premises/service are to be able to comply with social distancing requirements. Licensees only need to provide notice about the expansion of premises, then they can start operating in that new space. OLCC developed a special notification/application form for this specific purpose. OLCC staff indicated that as long as the operation falls into the guidelines articulated in the application, the application is immediately approved upon receipt by OLCC. At a later time, someone from OLCC will follow up with the applicant licensee to make sure operations are running smoothly, and to perhaps schedule a site visit (OLCC indicated that the emphasis will be on education and help, NOT looking for violations).

 FedEx Shipping


Expansion of Service Area
For TTB purposes, if you are going to expand your tasting room area into a space that alters the footprint of what is included in your site plan/floor plan currently on file with TTB (i.e. carving out bonded production space to convert it to tasting room space) you will likely need to update your TTB producer/blender permit file. But for most wineries, such a TTB filing will probably not be necessary. Let us know if you have specific questions about this.

Tasting of taxpaid wine:If the tasting room or area is not part of the bonded area, the wine used for tasting must be taxpaid. You must record the taxable removal of wine to such a tasting room or area when the wine is removed from bond or moved to a designated and suitable tax-paid storage area inside of the bonded wine premises.  Show this as a taxable removal on line 8 of Section B on TTB Form 5120.17, “Report of Wine Premises Operations.”

Tasting of non-taxpaid wineIn order to offer non-taxpaid wine to the public for tasting,the tasting room or area must be located within the bonded area of the wine premises. In addition, you must maintain a record showing the date, quantity, and kind of wine that is transferred to the room or area for tasting.  See 27 CFR 24.97(b).  Show the amount of non-taxpaid wine used for tasting on TTB Form 5120.17, “Report of Wine Premises Operations,” Section B, line 11. If you set aside more non-taxpaid wine to be used in the tasting room or area than is necessary, the excess amount will be subject to tax.  See 27 CFR 24.97(c).

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. 

P.O. Box 12109
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 902-9522

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