By Clint Thompson
Georgia peach workers are staying safe and nobody has been stricken from the coronavirus pandemic yet, says Jeff Cook, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Peach and Taylor counties.
“Nobody’s having any real hiccups with this virus. I guess everybody’s staying far enough away from each other to be safe,” Cook said.
Cook said all the precautions and safety guidelines that are already in place jive with the safety practices that are necessary with the current coronavirus pandemic.
“In the packing sheds and in the close proximity, all of the ladies and gentlemen, they’re all wearing masks. They started wearing gloves in the past anyway packing, just for food safety sake. All of their food safety side of stuff, it just translates over to public safety, too.
“Every day, at the end of the day, they clean the packing shed and then they disinfect it. Then they come back in the morning and do the same thing in the morning. They’ve all got stores, and all have got retail space where they sell products. They’ve got all of the regular signage up.”
Cook said in April that farmers are trying to keep their peach crews a little more separated this year. Farmers limit the workers to the amount of time they’re exposed to other people that are not part of their specific crew.
It would be extremely challenging if a worker got sick from COVID-19.
“If they lost one guy on a crew or had one with it, they’d probably have to lose that crew for at least a two-week quarantine period,” Cook said.