South Florida vs. COVID-19

StayHome thanks to @bclixs_drone on Instagram

We started this blog entry on St. Patrick’s day, today is April 9th, we have all been combating this virus together by sacrificing our plans, time and jobs to stay safe and healthy. We send out prayers and positive vibes to those directly affected by this virus, all the businesses and events, stay strong, we will be back, better than ever! We encourage you to stay home to help flatten the curve of infection, not to overwhelm our healthcare system in these extra-ordinary times. We encourage everyone to wear gloves and masks in public to protect yourself and others. Stay safe Miami!

Featured image thanks to @bclixs_drone on Instagram

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, but no one feels lucky with the madness of the “coronavirus” sweeping the world.

South Florida is taking on the Coronavirus in their own measures.
If you live in downtown Miami or in a suburb in Denver, you must know that “social distancing” is the number one recommendation US authorities are giving to help flatten the curve and reduce the risk of contagion. Coronavirus may not be as lethal as SARS if we compare the 3.4% vs. 10% mortality the later had.

Still, the virus is highly transmittable and will cause 6% of those infected to need hospitalization. To reduce these potential outcomes, authorities in South Florida are taking the necessary measures. Here are the essential recommendations:

Stay at home for as much as you can. Leave your house only to stock on groceries and medicines. If you can work from home, do it.
If you are going to shop, do it with responsibility. Panic buying only creates more havoc. If you can, buy local instead of recurring to the big chains.
Avoid gatherings and social events. Even if you are young and healthy, you put in risk those with higher vulnerabilities such as the elderly and those with a compromised immune system.
Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. 
Avoid physical contact as much as possible, especially with the elderly and infants. 
Do not spread panic nor believe in all online articles. Rely only on official sources. 
If you have any symptoms, before heading to a hospital, call the local authorities. The idea is to avoid collapsing the medical system.

Authorities in South Florida are closing down bars and nightclubs for 30 days. Restaurants will be open but working at a reduced capacity and mostly with take-out, drive-thru operations. Most gyms and movie theaters, as well as video arcades and bowling alleys, will also close to the public for a month. While these measures will take a toll on small businesses and the local economy, the repercussions of continuing business, as usual, could be fatal –government reps say.

A significant number of public events will also be canceled or postponed until further notice.
Here’s a list, per county:

Miami-Dade Youth Fair
 Jazz in the Gardens
 Miami 5K
 Miami Open
 Corporate Run Miami
 Miami Film Festival – all “special” events (contact festival for details)
 Inter Miami opening hometown match
 All planned activities at the American Airlines Arena
 Ultra Music Festival
 Calle Ocho Festival
 NASCAR at the Homestead Speedway (event will still be televised)
 Miami Beach Pride
Pride of the Americas
 Corporate Run Fort Lauderdale
 St. Patty’s Day Parade in Hollywood
 Inter Miami opening hometown match

The Futures Industry Association
 Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians & Jews Annual Dinner
 Palm Beach Book Festival
 Corporate Run West Palm Beach
 Palm Beach Fashion Week (postponed till November 16-22)
 Palm Beach Pride
 All public meetings for Town of Palm Beach
 Norton Museum – all planned events

MONROE: Seven Mile Bridge Run 
This week –due to a need for faster testing –drive-thru testing centers will be open. As of today, only one site is accessible in West Palm Beach. The goal is to expedite testing and reduce contagion as much as possible. 

Here are some useful links about the new coronavirus:

Added 3/19 Credit to:

General Safety for Cannabis Businesses During COVID-19

Throughout this outbreak, the most important thing to do is to visit your local health department’s website for the most up to date information on outbreak management in your area. Different cities, counties, states, and countries have individualized recommendations and interim rules to help contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

After reviewing local recommendations for your city and state, review the most recent guidance on the CDC website. In the United States, most local health departments defer to the CDC. The advice from the CDC and your local health departments will always be more comprehensive and up-to-date than the following overview, so please make sure to check the official guidelines regularly. In the meantime, we’ve compiled general guidelines and recommendations to consider when preparing your retail store, delivery service, or production facility for COVID-19. 

Retail Stores 

If your business is still open, one of the most pressing tasks in preparing for COVID-19 is to develop a plan and communicate that plan to all staff. If it’s possible to stagger shifts, allow employees to work from home, or otherwise minimize social contact, then health authorities recommend doing so

Retail businesses should follow the same CDC protocols as any other consumer-facing business. The most important recommendations are to keep hands washed, surfaces clean, and to limit close contact with others. 

Precautions for Cannabis Retailers & Staff 

  • Follow local, CDC, and OSHA guidelines for workplaces.
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home. 
  • Send sick employees home immediately.
  • Encourage customers to preorder and pickup to avoid long lines and crowds. 
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Cough into your elbow or a tissue instead of their hands.
  • Provide disinfectant wipes for employees to use to sanitize surfaces & door handles throughout the day.
  • Use gloves and avoid touching your face after handling paper money. 
  • Keep retail products in cases and avoid excess customer handling of the products. 
  • Do not allow customers to put their nose or mouth near the product when purchasing cannabis in retail stores. 
  • Request that your suppliers wear gloves when delivering products. 
  • Avoid sharing chopsticks and other utensils when weighing or handling cannabis.  
  • Consider pre-packaging cannabis products in a disinfected environment if products are not pre-packaged already. 
  • Do not lick hand-rolled pre-rolls to seal them.

If you cannot find hand sanitizer, you can make your own out of glycerine, hydrogen peroxide, and isopropyl alcohol. The isopropyl solution must be at least 60 percent alcohol, and the hydrogen peroxide solution must contain at least 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. You can find directions on how to make your own hand sanitizer from the World Health Organization here. (See here for a smaller batch). 

Delivery Services 

If your state allows cannabis delivery and you have the appropriate delivery license, encourage your customers to use your delivery service. In general, delivery is safer for both customers and staff alike. Delivery limits the exposure to crowds and may help limit the number of interactions your staff members have over the day. 

Precautions for Delivery Services

  • Follow local & CDC guidelines for workplaces.
  • Stay home from work if you are sick.
  • Sick employees should go home immediately.
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Practice social distancing; stand back from customers during exchanges. 
  • Try to keep interactions with customers brief.  
  • Avoid shaking hands and hugging, if possible. 
  • Do not enter a customer’s home, if possible.
  • Wear disposable gloves. 
  • Carry hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your face.

Production & Manufacturing 

Health officials in many cities have urged that all non-essential businesses close or limit service for the rest of March. If your cultivation or manufacturing facility is still open, consider the following basic precautions:

  • Follow local, CDC, and OSHA guidelines for workplaces and/or laboratories. 
  • Stay home from work if you are sick.
  • Sick employees should go home immediately.
  • Temporarily limit the number of employees who come into work to a bare minimum for operations. (The White House urges against gatherings of more than ten people.)
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Practice social distancing; stand back from other employees and retailers during exchanges. 
  • Wear masks, hairnets, aprons, and gloves when processing and packaging products. Personal protective equipment should be provided by the employer.
  • Sterilize work surfaces, door handles, and common areas daily to encourage a sanitary work environment.
  • Perform routine cleaning of your facility daily. 
  • Wash aprons, gowns, and work clothing after each use. 
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and warm water are not available. 

What to Do if You Think Someone Has COVID-19

If a staff member shows symptoms of the novel coronavirus, the CDC recommends the following actions: 

  1. Kindly separate the suspected case from the rest of the staff and customers.
  2. If possible, provide the person with a facemask to limit others’ potential exposure to respiratory fluids. 
  3. Ask the person to travel home and contact their primary caregiver and/or the local health department. 
  4. Ask all staff to wash their hands and avoid touching their faces. 
  5. Contact your local health department. 
  6. Temporarily close your facility for disinfection and deep cleaning, as outlined by your local health department.  

Coronavirus Cleaning Recommendations for Cannabis Businesses 

Right now, the CDC and (OSHA) recommend daily routine cleaning. This routine cleaning should include sanitizing commonly-touched surfaces and equipment, like countertops, scales, door handles, and shared devices. When cleaning, here are a few general tips:

  • Use products that feature an EPA-approved disinfectant label with claims against emerging viral pathogens. 
  • Read the instructions on the disinfectant carefully, especially regarding protective gear, concentration, and other safety products. 
  • Consider closing early to allow ample time to clean and sanitize surfaces after each business day. 
  • Consider sanitizing surfaces with disinfectant wipes multiple times throughout the day if you operate in a high-risk, high-traffic area. 
  • Offer customers hand sanitizer at the checkout counter or at the door. 
  • Provide lined trash cans and tissues for your customers to use. 

Please read the complete CDC webpage and contact your local health authorities if you believe that your business is at risk.

Where to Find More Information 

This guide offers only the basics. If you’re concerned about your business or workplace and would like further advice on best practices during this trying time, please reach out to your local agencies and review the information provided by the following authorities:

Local Departments of Health 

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) directory tool can help you find the contact information for your local health departments. 

State Departments of Health 

If you are concerned that your business was exposed to COVID-19 or have general questions about the safety protocols in place in your state, you can find the phone numbers for state authorities on infectious disease here

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

As mentioned above, the CDC is the leading federal health authority that offers general recommendations to local governments and health providers. Review all updates on COVID-19 on their official site here

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Apart from your local health authorities, OSHA offers the most definitive guidelines on the best preventative practices for businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Read through OSHA’s “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19″ here

Note: While we will update this guide as we learn more about COVID-19, please note that these recommendations are simple summaries intended to point cannabis businesses in the right direction during this state of emergency. Always defer to local and federal health authorities for official comments and recommendations. Have updates worth sharing? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. 

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