As Covid-19 cases continue to spike, new legislation was recently introduced to help prioritize food supply workers for vaccine distribution and rapid testing. NBC Palm Springs Spoke to Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s effort to keep farm workers and grocery store workers safe.
From July to September, Riverside County Public Health reported that nearly half of the county’s Covid-19 outbreaks were linked to grocery stores. And now Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia is introducing Assembly Bill 93, legislation that would prioritize those working in the food sector.
“We want to make sure that individuals who work in the food industry, everything from the farmworkers to those who work in the grocery store are part of the first phase of vaccinations,” explained Garcia.
Riverside County officials are working with hospitals to roll-out the vaccine as soon as arrives, and Garcia wants to make sure food supply workers are included.
“We think that it’s essential as they’ve been labeled essential workers that they are part of the front line of the vaccination,” said Garcia.
“Were working with our hospitals right now to identify who will be in their first round of vaccination efforts, and then the vaccine will ship directly to them, and they will administer the vaccines, and then as subsequent doses come in, then we will continue down the tiers,” said Kim Saruwatari, Director of Public Health with Riverside County.
It normally takes 30 days to amend an assembly bill, but Garcia hopes action will take sooner.
“What we hope happens is that even before this bill gets adopted as a law, that the administration through his executive orders or his directive to the public health departments, that it just becomes a given, that we have to focus in areas like ours and focus on this population of essential workers,” added Garcia.
Couty leaders helping out at a testing event explain the importance of taking care of our farmworkers.
“It’s obviously very important, especially when we are talking about our farmworkers that are essential workers, without them, we wouldn’t have the fruits and vegetables at our tables, and we have to do everything we can to take care of them,” said V. Manuel Perez, Riverside County Board of Supervisors, representing District 4.