Over the past week, confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have rapidly increased in both California and nationwide. The situation is rapidly changing, but we wanted to provide a few updates during this unprecedented time. Like everyone else, we are doing our best to keep up with the fast-moving changes over the past hours and days, and are expecting more developments over the coming days and weeks.
First and foremost, now is the time to prioritize the health of yourself, your family, your coworkers and employees, and your community. The CDC has issued guidance to employees and employers on best practices including hygiene, social distancing, and ensuring that sick employees say home. Locally, a number of resources are beginning to be made available, including:
- A coronavirus self-assessment tool available online through St. Joseph’s Hospital.
- For patients with more significant symptoms consistent with coronavirus, testing is available at St. Joseph’s and Redwood Memorial hospitals.
- Up-to-date local information, including a telephone hotline with more information, is available from the Humboldt Department of Public Health website.
For more up-to-date public health information, we encourage tracking the most recent updates coming from the CDC, California Department of Public Health, and local and national newspapers, most of which have lifted paywalls on coronavirus coverage.
Humboldt County is fortunate to currently have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside a single individual who, after returning from travel, has been in self-quarantine for several weeks. We strongly encourage everyone to pay attention to, and to follow, public health guidelines to help keep Humboldt County healthy over the coming weeks and months.
As more serious public health measures are put into place, we will be tracking the impacts on cannabis businesses in particular and on small businesses more broadly. At the federal level, legislation is being developed that may include relief from payroll taxes, expanded sick leave, and other policies affecting small businesses. The North Coast Small Business Development Center has been compiling useful information about these policies and their potential effects. Closer to home, on Monday afternoon, six Bay Area counties announced a shelter-in-place order that includes the required shutdown of “non-essential businesses,” raising questions on how cannabis businesses specifically will be affected. As more information continues to become available, we’ll post updates in our online community and will hold an open discussion during our Wednesday Industry Affairs call.