As our members struggle to determine how to best keep employees safe and businesses going during the pandemic, reliable resources and guidelines can be hard to find. Useful resources may be found here:
WVNLA worked with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to advocate for the inclusion of growers, landscapers and garden centers in the list of “essential” businesses as a growing number of states closed businesses deemed “non-essential.”
West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt and a representative of Governor Jim Justice’s office both confirmed that lawn and landscape maintenance and garden centers fall in the “essential” business category under the Governor’s COVID19 executive order and may continue to operate. Strict safety policies should be enforced, including hand and equipment sanitizing, maintaining social distance of six feet and sanitizing any gates, door knobs, or latches that crews might touch on customer’s properties. Garden centers may offer curb-side pick up for cautious shoppers.
Growers and sellers of vegetable and fruit plants and fruit and nut trees are obvious contributors to the food supply and must remain open. During this crisis, many Americans will see the wisdom of growing their own food, as the did with Victory Gardens during war times. They’ll purchase those plants at garden centers.
Landscapers are partners in public health and safety, maintaining lawns and green spaces with special treatments to reduce disease-carrying insects and pests. Crime rates increase in areas where green spaces are unkempt. Tree trimming and removal services prevent structural and service line damage.
And let’s not forget the spirit-lifting powers of a flourishing landscape. Good luck to all of you!