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Employer Guidance for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Am I Essential? COVID-19 Testing Sites
Promoting Power of Plants
Best Practices Health Prevention Tips Resources
Employer Planning Industry Updates
Ways to Stay Informed
Federal Help Marketing Help What if Employee Gets Sick
Financial Help Pesticide Training


IGIA is closely monitoring the development of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Illinois. We know you take the health and safety of employees and customers very seriously, and want to do everything possible to keep people safe while keeping our industry moving.  We must all monitor and comply with Federal, State, and Local advisories and precautionary measures. You should closely monitor employee health and, as the CDC advises, actively encourage sick employees to stay home.  Limit close contact between employees and clients for the safety of all involved.

UPDATE: Gov. Pritzker Releases Guidelines for Businesses and Workplaces to Safely Reopen During Phase 3 of Restore Illinois
As of May 29, all parts of Illinois have been cleared to move into phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan. Our industry remains essential, but for those businesses who have closed offices and have employees working remotely, you may wish to consider bringing them back using the new safety guidelines prepared by the State of Illinois.  The business toolkit offers signage, training checklists, and other resources to ensure business and activities are conducted in accordance with the latest and greatest public health recommendations. CLICK HERE   Phase 3 Business Toolkit

On Tuesday, May 5th, Governor Pritzker released Restore Illinois, a five-phased plan that will reopen our state, guided by health metrics and with marked by distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase. Under the Restore Illinois framework, certain businesses and activities are allowed to resume in Phase 3 with IDPH-approved safety guidance in place.  RESTORE ILLINOIS PLAN   


Financial Help

Illinois Approved for SBA Disaster Assistance Loans

Illinois has been approved for SBA loans for Illinois small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The low-interest loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per eligible small business or non-profit organization that applies. These loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The interest rate for businesses without credit available elsewhere is 3.75%, and the non-profit rate is 2.75%. According to the Small Business Administration, loans are available with long-term repayments to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Nursery producers are not eligible for this assistance under SBA guidelines. Business owners and non-profit leaders can apply for the loans on the SBA website CLICK HERE  

3-Step Guide to Applying for a Loan - CLICK HERE    Fact Sheet - CLICK HERE    Loan Overview - CLICK HERE

Emergency Loan Funds for Illinois Small Business Outside of Chicago

DCEO and IDFPR have established the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000. Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. If awarded the loan, the business will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term.  CLICK HERE

More Resources for Small Business

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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Response Legislation

President Trump has already signed three bills into law to address the fallout from Coronavirus containment and mitigation efforts across the nation.

Part 1: The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
This legislation provides emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak including funding for loans to support affected small businesses.

Part 2: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
This legislation expands job-protected leave for American workers and expand unemployment insurance programs, among other relief initiatives. Click here for a high-level summary of the law’s paid leave-related provisions. 

Department of Labor Guidance - The Wage and Hour Division provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Your business must be in compliance beginning April 1, 2020.

ATTENTION EMPLOYERS: This poster is required to be posted in workplaces beginning April 1 to keep your employees informed about leave related to COVID-19. CLICK HERE FOR ENGLISH     CLICK HERE FOR SPANISH

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements
COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act: Questions and Answers
COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act: Questions and Answers

COVID-19 Scenarios and Which Sick Leave Benefits Apply - CLICK HERE

Fear of Coronavirus isn't Covered by FFCRA - CLICK HERE

Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) HR Intake Form
As part of the FFCRA enacted on March 18, 2020, it is the responsibility of the employer to pay an employee's full salary for two weeks if the employee is sick with COVID-19. The employer is also required to pay 60% of an employee's salary for two weeks, if they are home with kids or caring for someone that is sick with COVID-19. This is federal law. You will need to track this carefully and comply with HIPAA. Below is a link to a standard intake form the employer can use to track employee information to ensure the accurate tracking and payroll adjustments. 

CLICK HERE FOR FFCRA HR INTAKE FORM

Part 3: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
This aid package is significantly larger than the previous two coming in at $2 trillion. The package is meant to infuse an abundance of cash into the economy to protect workers, provide loans for small businesses, put cash in the hands of consumers, boost programs to help those in need of relief through mortgages and other debts, provide significant funding for those industries and businesses most severely impacted.  The act allocated almost $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Deferral of Employment Tax Deposits and Payments Through December 31, 2020

The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allows employers to defer the deposit and payment of the employer's share of Social Security taxes and self-employed individuals to defer payment of certain self-employment taxes.  These FAQs address specific issues related to the deferral of deposit and payment of these employment taxes. These FAQs will be updated to address additional questions as they arise.

Employee Retention Credit Under the CARES Act

The Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. LEARN MORE

Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act

PPP Loan Forgiveness: The Complete Guide - 100% of the loan can be forgiven if you meet certain criteria. CLICK HERE for guidance to setup tracking and record-keeping systems in your office to ensure you can qualify for full forgiveness.

PPP Tracking Spreadsheet for Businesses That Received FundingCLICK HERE

Find an approved SBA lender in Illinois - CLICK HERE

Paycheck Protection Loan FAQs (updated May 27, 2020) - CLICK HERE

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application - CLICK HERE

Finance expert Herring summarizes PPP loan safe harbor - The Small Business Administration (SBA) released FAQ 46 today related to safe harbor for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. It is copied below. Here is the summary: Under $2 million PPP loan (in aggregate with affiliates – a defined term): Borrowers will be deemed to have made a good faith certification concerning necessity. Read More

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Illinois Pesticide Licensing and Testing

Pesticide Applicator Training and Testing Clinics jointly administered by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and University of Illinois Extension are cancelled for the remainder of the clinic season. Refunds will be issued as soon as possible to those who registered.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will extend applicator, operator and dealer licenses that expired December 31, 2019. These licenses will now be valid through December 31, 2020. Training and testing opportunities are available for individuals not currently licensed as applicators.

GET MORE DETAILS AND FAQ

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Resources

AmericanHort
Coronavirus
Resource Center
CLICK HERE
COVID-19 Testing
Sites in Illinois
CLICK HERE

Answers to the Most
Common HR Questions
with COVID-19
CLICK HERE

OSHA Guidance 
on Preparing Workplaces 
for COVID-19 
CLICK HERE
CDC Reopening
Guidance 
for Businesses
and Employers
CLICK HERE
SBA Disaster 
Loan Assistance for
Illinois Businesses
CLICK HERE
 
NALP Coronavirus
Resource Center
CLICK HERE
State of IL Corona
Virus Updates
 
CLICK HERE
COVID-19 and 
Unemployment
Benefits FAQs
CLICK HERE
CDC Approved 
Antimicrobial
Cleaning Products
CLICK HERE
DOL Issues 
Guidance on COVID-19 
and the FMLA
CLICK HERE

Coronavirus and
the Greenhouse Industry:
What We Know So Far
 CLICK HERE
Coronavirus
Small Business
Survival Guide
CLICK HERE
Landscape Industry 
Guidance for Business 
Operations During 
COVID-19 
CLICK HERE
U.S. DOL Guidance on
Unemployment Flexibilities
During COVID-19 Outbreak
CLICK HERE
COVID-19 Resources
By State/Province
CLICK HERE
Illinois Workplace Health
& Safety Guidelines
CLICK HERE
COVID-19 Guidance
for Retail Workers
CLICK HERE 


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Best Practices

Coronavirus Best Management Practices for the Green Industry - CLICK HERE

Best Practices for Nurseries - The California Department of Food & Agriculture developed a guide for both wholesale and retail nurseries. Although it was developed for use in California, we are seeing it being adopted in other states so you can be ahead of the curve by implementing these practices in your operation now - CLICK HERE FOR ENGLISH    CLICK HERE FOR SPANISH

NALP Landscape Industry Guidance for Business Operations - CLICK HERE

EPA Guidance for Cleaning & Disinfecting - CLICK HERE
Approved Disinfectants for COVID-19
-
CLICK HERE

Sample Safety Plans
Sun Valley Landscaping Safety Plan - CLICK HERE
Pacific Landscape Management Safety Plan - CLICK HERE

Garden Centers
Alternative Shopping Options - CLICK HERE
Curbside Pickup and home delivery option - EXAMPLE HERE  EXAMPLE HERE
Curbside and Concierge Options - CLICK HERE
Communication with Customers about Shopping Options -EXAMPLE HERE  CLICK HERE
How retail store managers can respond safelyCLICK HERE 
Communicate with your customers - CLICK HERE   ANOTHER EXAMPLE

Bailey Nurseries Marketing Resources - CLICK HERE
Proven Winners Marketing Resources - CLICK HERE

Tips for No-Contact Sales from Peers

• Create a designated area in your parking lot for pick-up and number the slots.
• Stay extremely active on social and showcase your best plants for that day - especially if you don't currently have online sales set up. Facebook Live works great!
• To be more efficient, have your employees pick all online/phone orders in a designated pick-time instead of as they come in throughout the day
• Mark your aisles with tape to create "one-way" traffic to help with social distancing
• Parents are looking for kid-friendly activities - put together Kids Gardening Kits!
• If you have an e-commerce platform, focus on posting plants/products that are in high demand or that have a high profit margin.
•  Curbside Pickup Best Practices from Bailey - CLICK HERE

No Contact Plant Pickup - CLICK HERE
Get Online Shopping Setup Fast -
CLICK HERE
Develop an Online Plant Database - CLICK HERE

Smart Plant Home -
service to help Garden Centers with Curbside Pickup for FREE - allows Garden Centers to build an online catalog of plants that are available for Curbside Pickup using an app and your website - CLICK HERE

Tracking Coronavirus Costs - CLICK HERE

OSHA Recording

Under OSHA's recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and thus employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19, if:

1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);[2]
2. The case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5;[3] and
3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7.[4]

OSHA Revised Enforcement Guidance UPDATE (As of 5/19/20) - CLICK HERE

Maintain Social Distancing Signage - CLICK HERE

Print and post the CDC fact sheets in high traffic areas of your business as a reminder for everyone.

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Employer Action

  • Talk with your employees about the virus, how it spreads, and how to prevent getting infected. Communication is important. Remain calm and provide accurate information based on facts.
    • Share what the company doing to protect its employees from the virus (handwashing, sanitizing, limiting meetings, limiting in-person contact, etc.)

    • Share your remote working/telecommuting options, guidelines (if applicable)

    • Review your processes for how the company will communicate to employees in the event of a mandatory shut down

    • Review your HR policies regarding sick time or leave. This may be a time to make some temporary modifications (i.e.: provide an advance on paid time off)

  • Print the CDC fact sheets and post them in high traffic areas - CLICK HERE
  • Be sure the workplace is stocked with plenty of soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissue, and cleaning supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect your workplace, with special attention to high-touch surfaces (tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, sinks, cabinet doors)
  • Communicate with employees that they should stay home if they are sick. Employees sometimes come to work believing they will face punishment or firing if they miss work. Be sure your employees understand that their health and that of their co-workers’ comes first. Communicate and make a plan to cover for sick employees.
  • Be ready to answer questions from the public/customers about what your company is doing to address the issue. For example "We have established a plan that we are adapting based on guidance from state and local officials. We monitor employee health daily, continue to clean and disinfect our workplace paying special attention to individual PPE, and are continually monitoring the situation to make changes when needed."
  • If your company works directly with the public, you may consider a proactive strategy that would encourage customers that you remain open for business (while continually monitoring state and local guidelines) and that your company is available to help them use this time to beautify the outdoor space at their home or office.  If you have a retail space, communicate the steps your team is taking to keep the area safe for customers and employees serving them. 
    • Share whether the company open for business, has modified hours operation, offers delivery or order pickup services, etc.

    • Share what the company is doing to protect its customers from the virus? (handwashing, sanitizing, adding additional hand-wash stations, limiting visitors, limiting meetings, limiting in person contact, etc.)

    • Share the positive fact that plants impact our health, wellness and the environment – “gardening has not been cancelled”

    • Ask how the company can help its customers/clients in this time of uncertainty through service, payment terms, or other support

Business Planning Considerations

  • Establish a plan for increased employee absences in the next few weeks. With schools closed, possible family members affected by illness, and other unexpected challenges at home, you may have have higher levels of employee absenteeism. 
  • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace can operate even if key staff members are absent.
  • Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting for some employees) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees.
  • Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize work, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Carefully monitor the local conditions as they adapt and update your policies, procedures, and strategies as needed.  The reputation of your company is so important and a critical component of that is communication with both employees and customers. 
  • Collect your receivables as quickly as possible, determine your monthly burn rate, and look into securing an SBA loan.
  • Secure your vehicle’s equipment and inventory, monitoring frequently, and carefully record any losses for insurance purposes.  Criminal activity will likely increase during these trying times.
Business Guidance from IL Dept of Public Health

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What if An Employee Gets Sick With Coronavirus

The guidance below has been provided by Zlimen and McGuiness, PLLC, through a partnership with the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. 

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, employers should consider taking steps to ensure the employee is cared for and ensure the safety of others. Treat positive test results and “suspected but unconfirmed” cases of COVID-19 the same. If the source of infection is known, identify if it was at the workplace or outside.

If the infection was contracted inside the workplace, it is strongly advised that the business take the following steps:
   • Notify your workers’ compensation carrier;
   • Place the employee on workers’ compensation leave (with pay); and
   • Record the infection in the employer OSHA 300 log.
If the infection was contracted outside the workplace there are several things to consider and implement to protect the company. If the employee is eligible for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) , place them on paid FFCRA leave and apply for an FFCRA payroll tax credit. While the employee should already be aware due to the FFCRA poster requirements, inform the employee that they may use this type of leave.

If your company offers short term disability, determine if and when employee is eligible. Additionally, the company should ask the employee if they grant the company permission to disclose the fact that the employee is infected.

If the employee consents to disclosing the fact they are infected, get the consent in writing. Then, the company should notify employee’s manager(s) or supervisor(s) that employee is infected with COVID-19 and is out on leave. For everyone else, respond to inquiries by disclosing employee is on a leave of absence for non-disciplinary purposes.

If an employee denies consent to disclose the fact that they are infected, notify employee’s manager(s) or supervisor(s) only that employee is on a leave of absence for non-disciplinary purposes.

Regardless of if the employee gives their consent to disclose the fact they are infected, the company must comply with any required notifications to OSHA or the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The company should also notify the employee’s co-workers who may have come into close contact with the infected employee at work within the past 14 days. Co-workers should be told that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and may wish to see a healthcare provider. For employees who had very close contact with employee in past 14 days, send them home for a 14-day self-quarantine. In most cases, these employees will also be eligible for paid leave under the FFCRA.

If your company has more than one store or office location, the company is not required to notify other locations unless the employee visited those sites within past 14 days.

DO NOT identify the infected employee by name. To the extent reasonably possible, avoid making any direct or indirect references that would lead the co-workers to guess the identity of the employee. In many small businesses other employees may infer who the employee is, but that does not mean you shouldn’t do what you can to avoid having others find out about the employee’s private health information.

The company should also notify known customers, vendors, or third parties with whom the employee may have come into contact with through work (including customers who had direct close contact with the employee at a job site) within the past 14 days that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and may wish to see a healthcare provider. Again, DO NOT identify the infected employee by name. To the extent reasonably possible, avoid making any direct or indirect references that would lead the person to guess the identity of the employee. Again, we know this is hard to do in a small company, but try.

There is no guidance on how far a company should investigate for third parties who may have come into contact with an employee through work. It is safe to include any parties on the employee’s work calendar, co-workers who have had close contact, or other people readily available or known.

The employer should arrange for a deep and thorough cleaning of the employee’s work space if they have one. Other tools, equipment, and vehicles used by the employee should also be cleaned.

Employers should respond to inquiries by CDC or public health authorities if they are received. In this instance, the employer is allowed to disclose the identity of the employee and protected health information.

There is no obligation to report a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 to the CDC. (The employee’s healthcare provider has that reporting requirement.)

Finally, having worked in the green industry for more than 25 combined years, we get it. Sending home every employee who had close-contact with a COVID-19 positive employee, may significantly reduce the company’s workforce and will impact the bottom line even more than it already has been. The company has to make some very hard decisions. If the business can continue to operate and enforce extreme social distancing measures, then it is up to the business owner to decide. If many or all employees of the business likely came into contact with the employee who tested positive, it may be best to shut the business down to the extent possible for a minimum of 2 weeks. While this sounds extreme, the alternative is that additional employees will actually contract COVID-19 and the spread of the virus within your company will require you to shut down even if you don’t want to.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Patrick McGuiness at [email protected] with any questions you have during this crisis.

The guidance above has been provided by Zlimen and McGuiness, PLLC, through a partnership with the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. 

How to Handle a Positive COVID-19 Test - CLICK HERE

What to Do When Scared Workers Don’t Report to Work Due to COVID-19 - CLICK HERE


What is the Industry is Saying

Serpico Landscaping Shares How They Are Staying Safe and Operating Lean - Like other landscaping companies currently operating during the pandemic, Serpico Landscaping has rolled out a number of operational practices to keep crews and clients safe.From deep cleaning their facilities and equipment every day to providing masks and gloves for all employees, Serpico says they’re taking COVID-19 safety...Read More

Looking at COVID-19’s Impact on Commercial Landscape Maintenance Companies - The impact the shelter-in-place orders had on NALP members and their commercial clients has varied greatly. As parts of the country start to open things back up, here’s what businesses that offer commercial maintenance are seeing in the field.  For No Ka Oi Landscape Services, based in Hanapepe, Hawaii...Read More

Sailing Through the Storm - The novel coronavirus, ensuing uncertainty, quarantines and stay-at-home orders have created a challenging environment for nurseries. Wholesale nurseries have had to determine whether they are allowed to stay open in the wake of COVID-19. Nurseries that ship cross-country have had to track whether their customers are open, as well. Landscape contractors and retail...Read More

Recharging your sales and marketing efforts during COVID-19 - In a recent webinar hosted by Kevin Kehoe, co-founder of Aspire Software Company, the topic of recharging your landscaping company’s sales and marketing efforts was posed.According to Marty Grunder, president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Company, landscaping company owners can either look at the current COVID-19 pandemic...Read More

ADA Implications: I Don’t Want to Wear a Mask- During the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen multiple shifts in views by the public and employees. Initially, the issue was what to do if an employee requested a face mask. However, businesses are now facing different questions: Can you require employees to wear a face mask? Read More

Closer Connections With Distance Digital - Yesterday my accounts manager and I moved our office setups to our respective homes to ride out the Dallas shelter-in-place order after we’d already practiced several weeks of working in split shifts at the office, and the recommended social distancing. The COVID-19 virus is bearing down and forcing businesses to go remote, furlough, lay...Read More

Managing COVID-19's Casualties - During the last four months, the word “coronavirus” has become a permanent part of our vernacular. While it has outstayed its unwanted welcome, the ailment has swept the normal maneuverability of society, specifically for members of the workforce. Here is how to best handle the casualties of COVID-19, according to two experts. Read More

Hiring during a Crisis - The first inkling that something was amiss happened when candidates in the construction industry suddenly became wary of new job opportunities. They were worried about a softening in housing starts and instability in new construction. Many didn’t want to leave their current jobs for a new position with the associated unknowns, even if the role sounded intriguing...Read More

Sailing Through the Storm The novel coronavirus, ensuing uncertainty, quarantines and stay-at-home orders have created a challenging environment for nurseries. Wholesale nurseries have had to determine whether they are allowed to stay open in the wake of COVID-19. Nurseries that ship cross-country have had to track whether their customers are open, as well. Landscape contractors...Read More

EPA, CDC Release Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Spaces Where Americans Live, Work, and Play - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance to help facility operators and families properly clean and disinfect spaces. Developed in concert with the White House, the guidance...Read More

How to Prepare for Reopening Your WorkplaceWith many states allowing businesses to reopen, associations are looking more closely at how they might reopen their doors when the time comes. While returning to work may sound like getting back to normal, experts say the workplaces people return to will be very different. “There will be new cleaning standards to ensure that things are safe...Read More

Utilizing Video to Sell Landscaping Services During COVID-19 - One of the biggest sales-based issues landscapers are facing during these uncertain times is how to sell projects without actually meeting with customers face to face. According to Jack Jostes, CEO of Ramblin Jackson, Inc., the solution could be utilizing video calls in your sales process. “I feel like in any business that has a consultative...Read More

Masks, Distance and Zero-Contact Sales are Vital to Reopening - Throughout the month of May, many states will cautiously resume life after nearly six weeks of lockdown. While there’s zero certainty that the warmer months will slow the spread of the coronavirus, the country is eager to dip its toes into optimistic waters. Now that some states may return to socially distant economic openings, IGC owners...Read More

Greenhouse Coalition Launches Stay Planted Initiative - To help advance CDC messaging for shelter in place and social distancing guidelines, a coalition of greenhouse growers and interior plantscapers recently launched a #StayPlanted initiative.#StayPlanted encourages solidarity for shelter-in-place and social distancing directives by encouraging individuals to place plants in windows, and share...Read More

Michigan Green Industries are Back in BusinessOn April 24, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer shared that the measures put in place by Executive Orders 2020-21 and 2020-42 have been effective, and the amount of new coronavirus cases has started to drop. With that, Whitmer announced Executive Order No. 2020-59, which now allows the state to gradually resume in-person work...Read More

Honesty, Communication Important When Leading a Business Through Crisis, Leaders Say - Leaders at two landscaping companies emphasize the importance of communicating frequently with employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Zech Strauser, president of Strauser Nature’s Helper in Pennsylvania and Jon Crandall, chief visionary of JC Grounds in Massachusetts recently discussed how they’ve been...Read More

The New NormalEver since the novel strain of the coronavirus, COVID-19, hit the shores of North America in mid-March, many businesses have scrambled to maintain their profits and normal operations in the face of a pandemic. Under new social distancing rules, along with the new guidelines for businesses deemed “essential,” nurseries might feel uncertain on how to proceed...Read More

DHS-CISA Updates Guidelines for Essential Businesses - Friday, April 17, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an update to guidance for Essential Workers and Businesses. One clarification under Agriculture is new wording that states "Workers supporting the growth and distribution of plants and associated products for home gardens." View the Full Update 

Green Industry Businesses Share Protocols to Maximize the Health and Safety During the Covid-19 Pandemic - Day-to-day activities have changed every aspect of businesses throughout the country.  The Green Industry is no exception, with changes implemented to maintain safe working environments for employees and their clients while being compliant with the state’s Executive Order...Read More

Nufarm launches virtual learning series in response to COVID-19 - Nufarm announces the launch of a new Virtual Learning Series for turf and ornamental professionals in light of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The series features short learning modules on various industry topics, including naturalized areas maintenance and premium weed control for sedges and kyllinga...Read More

The Quagmire of Reopening Retail Stores And Rebuilding Trust - While many retailers are focused on just getting their stores open, there is a lot of work that must be done to rebuild shoppers’ trust. Otherwise, retailing will be an awkward, complex, and messy situation - a quagmire. Every time the trains ran on schedule, every time we got a tax refund, every time one of our kids graduated from school, and every...Read More

What to Do When Scared Workers Don’t Report to Work Due to COVID-19 - Some essential workers are refusing to come to work out of fear of contracting the coronavirus. Their employers must weigh the employees' legal rights and understandable health concerns with the organizations' business needs. It can be a tough balancing act. "A good first step for an employer to respond...Read More

MNLA and Michigan Landscape Companies File Federal Lawsuit to Stop the State’s Stay-in-Place Order - The Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association, five landscaping, lawn care and retail garden center businesses, and an employee filed a class-action lawsuit April 18 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The lawsuit adds to a growing number of suits filed...Read More 

Tips for Landscape Professionals on Supporting Customers During COVID-19 - The spring equinox has come, signaling the end of winter and typically the start of another busy season for lawn and landscaping professionals. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are experiencing a temporary halt in business during a crucial time. This could be due to customers concerned...Read More

Arborjet and Ecologel Support GreenCare for Troops During COVID-19 Crisis - Arborjet and Ecologel Solutions LLC will once again be an official Silver sponsor of Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops program. “We are proud to support Project EverGreen as their mission aligns with our philosophy of preserving green spaces, including lawns, trees, parks and communities in a sustainable way,” says Ecologel...Read More

Blumen Gardens owner solicits aid from DeKalb County Board to lift 'essential business' restrictions - Joel Barczak, co-owner of Sycamore staple Blumen Gardens, is asking the DeKalb County Board to help convince state officials to ease restrictions on garden centers, deemed essential businesses amid shutdowns and stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic...Read More

Gov. Wolf Denies Blanket Exemption for Independent Family-Owned Garden Centers in Pennsylvania - On April 10, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf denied a blanket exemption that would have allowed independent family owned garden centers across Pennsylvania to open this spring. The denial means that garden centers, having geared up for spring, will be stuck with millions of plants...Read More

Survey Says…Lawn Care Companies Fairing Better in the COVID-19 Economy - Navigating business challenges isn’t easy for any company this spring, but as an industry, we are doing a lot better than many others. NALP surveyed landscape industry companies, the week of April 6, to learn how COVID-19 is affecting their business (and also to learn how we can provide the best resources to help...Read More

AmericanHort Releases Letter to Protect Domestic HorticultureAmericanHort announced a letter sent to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to ensure nursery and floriculture crop farmers ravaged by the fallout of the COVID-19 economic shutdown are not left out of USDA support. “Nurseries and greenhouse growers have been hit hard...Read More

The Green Industry’s Response to COVID-19 - The Nursery and Landscape Association Executives, Columbus, Ohio, together with AmericanHort, Columbus, Ohio; the Irrigation Association, Fairfax, Virginia; and the National Association of Landscape Professionals, Fairfax, Virginia; have developed a clickable map of North America, showcasing the various state...Read More

Finding the Silver Lining: Landscape Pros Share Positive StoriesIn times of trouble, it can be easy to only see the bad and focus on negative news but even during a crisis you can find hope and positivity. Various NALP members share how they are staying positive and they highlight the unexpected bright spots that have come out of the COVID crisis. Read More

Survey: 36% of Landscapers Seeing Project Backlog Decreases During Coronavirus Pandemic - Landscaping professionals nationwide continue to see the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on their businesses, according to a survey conducted by Total Landscape Care during April 3-7. When asked how their current project backlog has changed due to COVID-19, 36 percent of landscaper respondents...Read More

Industry Leaders Offer Resources for Independent Garden Centers - An anonymous group of concerned industry leaders has drafted a letter for distribution to the consumer, to which they are inviting everyone in contact with consumers, especially independent garden centers, to distribute. On Monday, they released the following statement: The greatest opportunity in horticulture...Read More

Lawn & Landscape COVID-19 Webinar RecapLawn & Landscape hosted a webinar on April 3 with columnists and industry consultants Jim Huston (J.R. Huston Consulting), Ed Laflamme (The Harvest Group) and Bruce Wilson (Bruce Wilson & Co.) The panelists discussed best practices during COVID-19 and commented on exclusive Lawn & Landscape COVID-19 research. Here are some takeaways from...Read More

Trucking and Shipping Industry Works to Maintain Driver Safety During COVID-19 - The trucking and transportation industry is one of many being affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic. What’s worse, there’s a trickle-down effect on several other markets, including horticulture. Fortunately, pros within the trucking industry are stepping up to make sure their needs, and subsequently the needs...Read More

Due to COVID-19, USDA Extends Expiration Dates for Audit Certifications - In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has changed requirements for the following audit certifications: USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Domestic Origin Verification and Plant Systems Audit programs. The change was made, according to the agency's...Read More

Many Garden Centers, Greenhouses and Nurseries Deemed 'Essential' Businesses - Due to an uptick of new coronavirus cases sweeping the nation, many states have issued stay-at-home orders, along with temporary shutdowns for non-essential businesses. Green industry businesses, however, have been deemed as "essential" and remain open in many states, if they follow state and federal...Read More 

Is your Landscaping Business Covered for COVID-19 Related Losses? You know, I’m surprised more politicians don’t come out of insurance. The whole industry excels at giving vague responses that avoid answering your direct questions. This is not out of malicious intent to confuse you, but rather to avoid giving you misleading or false information. Read More

Managing Operations During the Coronavirus Outbreak - Earlier this week, Greenhouse Management asked you how your operation is faring during the coronavirus outbreak. About 500 of you filled us in on how your operation is managing. See how other greenhouses around North America are doing...Read More

Louisiana IGCs Report Higher Sales Due to Stay-at-Home Order - Spring has sprung in Southwest Louisiana, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for those looking to do a little social distancing in their front yards. For Dever Nursery in Sulphur (750 Houston River Rd), the biggest sales of the year are from March through May. So, when the stay-at-home order was announced, co-owner...Read More

Contractors Responding to the Coronavirus - We asked about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on your businesses. You responded.  Nationwide, companies are being forced to adjust to unexpected consequences of the coronavirus. Some companies are seeing some surprising benefits, while others are operating cautiously as they fear the worst is yet to come. Read More

The Return of the Victory Garden - As the coronavirus pandemic worsens, one way garden centers are dealing with the fallout is by dusting off a term from the past and encouraging customers to plant victory gardens. The term was coined during World War I by the National War Garden Commission and promoted through propaganda posters advocating that civilians “Sow the seeds of victory”...Read More

It's Time to Pivot: Words from Jeffrey Scott - Man, this has been an interesting week, with my home town New Orleans blowing up with corona, and my friend’s circle catching it as well. One is a pilot, not the best profession for these times.  So what do you do? Sit back and lament or chin-up and look for the opportunities ahead? Last week I spoke to an esteemed contractor and client...Read More

DHS announces flexibility in requirements related to Form I-9 compliance - On March 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19. Continue to the full release below to learn how employers with remote employees may...Read More  

Sound Off: How Landscaping Companies are Dealing With the Coronavirus - With the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the nation, many businesses have been forced to shut their doors due to the government deeming them non-essential during this time. However, numerous landscaping companies would not take this ruling lying down, and over the past few weeks, the NALP continued...Read More

Little Prince of Oregon Nursery Partnership Offers Financial Incentive to IGCs - As garden centers across the United States shut their doors to comply with shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19, Little Prince of Oregon Nursery has launched a new online referral program to help businesses maintain service...Read More

5 Things to Know About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act - After it was introduced on March 11, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14 and by the Senate on March 18 — President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law. The bill provides paid sick leave requirements and paid family leave requirements...Read More 

How to Protect Your Business During the Coronavirus Outbreak - It’s too soon to make it official, but Charlie Hall, professor and Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M says the country is likely in a recession. In a March 23 webinar hosted by AmericanHort, he discussed strategies that green-industry firms should adopt to successfully weather this situation...Read More

Survey reveals coronavirus impact on the ornamental horticulture industry - Sales for ornamental growers are expected to be down around 50% this year with some expecting a far greater fall in sales. Ninety-six percent of countries responding predict their industry...Read More

Greenhouses Brace for Coronavirus Impact - The green industry is feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with events like the California Spring Trials canceled, other events pushed back and the day-to-day of life changed. Businesses are feeling it too...Read More

Lawn & Landscape Early Survey Results - Lawn & Landscape sent a survey on March 20 to our readers. These numbers were collected the evening of March 23 after approximately 1,300 people responded. We plan on sending a similar survey out in a couple...Read More

AmericanHort Outlines How Businesses Can Navigate COVID-19 - AmericanHort is working hard to help all businesses involved in horticulture, including greenhouse growers, retailers, nurseries, and others, deal with the fallout of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Read More

Keeping Up With the Numbers - Greg Herring knows the numbers tell a story, and when it comes to COVID-19, the numbers only continue to get more daunting. Herring, the founder and CEO of The Herring Group, a consultant company, hosted a free webinar...Read More

Landscapers Stress Importance of Industry Amid COVID-19 Business Restrictions - As state governments continue to impose restrictions on businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, landscaping and irrigation professionals are among many...Read More

Candid Feedback from Our Landscape Industry Clients Dealing with COVID-19 - It's been a tough couple of weeks for all of us in the lawn and landscape industry. As I've been talking to dozens of industry peers and clients, one question has been asked repeatedly: "What are you hearing from other companies?" I thought I would share their candid feedback with all of you. CLICK HERE

Allan Armitage: Why Gardening Needs to be Part of the Coronavirus Solution - As I write this column, the coronavirus and the insidious COVID-19 effects have resulted in changes to our lives that were unfathomable just a few weeks ago. The virus has become an animate object that is full in our faces, and like objects in a side view mirror, it is closer than it appears. You are probably...Read More 

Steve Cesare: Understanding the FFCRA Coronavirus Legislation - Recently-passed legislation related to the Coronavirus has a significant impact on all companies with fewer than 500 employees. The Emergency FMLA Expansion Act... READ MORE

The Garden Center Group Suggests 'Essential Business' Messaging for IGCs - As state governments determine what qualifies as an 'essential business' in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, The Garden Center Group has released a statement...Read More

Reacting to COVID-19: What Landscaping Companies Can Do During This Uncertain Time - In a recent webinar hosted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), experts weighed in on what landscapers across the country...Read More

How Landscape Companies are Handling COVID-19 Concerns - Amid the cancellation of public events, professional sports events, concerts and a variety of other gatherings due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), many companies are in the process...Read More

How IGCs are Managing Stores During the Coronavirus Outbreak - Across North America, IGCs are handling the coronavirus in different ways, and many are sharing announcements for their plans across their websites and social media pages. As of March 16, many...Read More

AmericanHort Addresses Coronavirus Concerns - On March 17, AmericanHort released a statement that it is working on addressing green industry concerns in regard to the coronavirus pandemic. President and CEO Ken Fisher noted AmericanHort is working...Read More

Steve Cesare: Response to the Coronavirus - Due to the constant media attention, numerous business owners from across the country have contacted me regarding the need for an acceptable response to employee and client inquiries about the...Read More

How to Respond to COVID-19 as a Business Owner - Last week I told you the sky was not falling. It isn’t, but a lot has changed in the past week, and this will help you get prepared. With the fast-moving coronavirus, you need to change and adapt your plans...Read More

Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis - The Covid-19 crisis has now reached a new critical phase where public health systems need to act decisively to contain the growth in new epicenters outside China. Clearly, the main emphasis is and should be on... CLICK HERE

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Health Prevention Tips

Be sure your employees have the right information.  While there is currently no vaccine to prevent this virus, there are simple steps that can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Maintain Social Distancing Signage - CLICK HERE

Print and post the CDC fact sheets in high traffic areas of your business as a reminder for everyone.

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