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Oct. 19, 2020 | Monday
Local News
COVID-19: Farm workers start to arrive
Ivan Dillon, Baraka Allen, Kentroy McGon and Rojay James are in isolation for 14 days after arriving from Jamaica. The workers arrived at Erwin Wiens Farms on Tuesday at midnight. (Richard Harley/Niagara Now)

It’s the day before farm workers will arrive at the Wiens farm, after much anticipation about whether they even would be allowed in the country due to COVID-19 border closures.

Farm owner Erwin Wiens is full of anxiety, making sure the living quarters are fixed up for his guys.

He’s fixing a water leak with a local handyman, while his wife Dorothy and daughter Jessica give the house a final tidy to make sure it’s ready to go for the 14 days of isolation the workers will face as soon as they arrive.

Finally, on Tuesday around midnight, after worries about whether the men would even make the flight, workers Ivan, Baraka, Kentroy and Rojay arrive.

When The Lake Report caught up with Wiens Wednesday morning, the sense of relief in the air was palpable. In another 14 days, the work can begin for this year’s grape growing season — finally.

“Now I can say to myself, it’s OK.”

Wiens said his workers, who have been working his farm for years, typically arrive 10 days earlier and now they will be 24 days late starting work for the season.

And Mother Nature doesn’t wait. In fact, she was a bit early this year.

Wiens has a house with separate rooms for the workers, and they must follow the government’s guidelines on isolation. Which means they can’t work for two  weeks and they have to stay six feet apart from each other, even in the house.

He said the workers fully understand the situation, and are really just as worried, if not more, than Canadians are about the virus.

“They’re aware of what’s going on here. They’re watching, they’re concerned, they’re scared. They want you to stay away from them, too,” he said.

“They’re more worried here than you and I are. We’ve kind of followed this thing along.”

Wiens said he also has three full-time workers, who have been a great help. He trusts his workers to run the farm, even if something happens to him, he said.

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