A diverse coalition of industry groups is seeking immediate relief for some of the provisions of the wildfire smoke regulation. In a letter addressed to Governor Gavin Newsom, the signatories detail the overwhelming challenges of adhering to the Wildfire Smoke Protection requirements. The wildfires that have been burning throughout California in recent weeks resulted in multiple days of the Air Quality Index hitting the threshold requiring the provision of N95 masks.
“Because it has become logistically impossible for most of California’s non-medical employers to comply with the Regulation’s requirement of acquiring and stockpiling N95 masks, we write to seek your help,” the letter states. “Without new sources of N95s or alternative compliance methods, both essential and non-essential employers may be forced to shut down when wildfires occur in their area.”
The letter was signed by more than 50 organizations including the California Farm Bureau Federation, Western Growers Association, and Agricultural Council of California. The letter outlines three possibilities for relieving some of the challenges created by the smoke regulation. Ensuring an adequate number of N95 respirators are made available from the state stockpile. Temporarily suspending part of the smoke regulation until a time when N95 masks become available again. The third option is for the allowance of alternative compliance measures including the use of KN95 masks.
The letter included signatories representing a broad array of businesses that are being impacted by the smoke regulation. COVID-19 has affected various industries that previously may not have been overly challenged by the smoke protection requirements. Many businesses such as restaurants that have moved their operations outside to comply with COVID-19 restrictions are now falling under the smoke exposure regulation. The coalition of industry groups note that without some type of reprieve from the smoke exposure rules there may be dire consequences.
“We hope that, with the above context in hand, you will help us find a feasible path to compliance such that California’s businesses can continue to function outdoors during this unprecedented time,” the letter concluded.