Coronavirus Information for Michigan's Green Industry
To all of our valued Members - On behalf of the entire MNLA Team, we hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe during this difficult time. As the Coronavirus evolves we bring you these resources to help protect you, your business and your team. These can all be found below. Please note that changes are now occurring hourly and we recommend that you check these resources frequently to ensure that you have the latest information.
October 6, 2020 Update
On behalf of the MNLA Board of Directors and Team we hope that you, your families, and your team are staying healthy.
The big news is that on Friday, October 2nd the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the 1945 law Governor Whitmer has used to repeatedly extend a state of emergency, without legislative approval, is unconstitutional. This has left all of us reviewing the decision and trying to find answers to the question of what we now need to comply with and the Legislature working to determine which, if any, of the Executive Orders or their parts will be adopted.
It is important to note that this Supreme Court ruling is only applicable to the Governor’s Executive Orders and does NOT change that we must still comply with Department Epidemic Orders. Yesterday, the State Health Department issued an emergency order on gathering sizes, masks, and venue limits that we must comply with (Click HERE to see this Order). It is important to note that for our growers this doesn’t change the need to comply with the August 3rd Department Order that requires mandatory testing for agricultural workers.
To add to the confusion, under Michigan’s Public Health Code (Act 368 of 1978), local health departments have the authority to issue emergency orders to control an epidemic and we’re already seeing county health departments around the state issuing their unique orders.
Our advice to our members is to not make any drastic changes as there will certainly be something to replace the Executive Orders—either comprehensive legislation from the State Legislature or the adverse issuance of orders by county health departments—that you may need to reinstate or change again. MNLA is advocating that new rules be consistent and easier for business to interpret and comply with.
September 18 Updates
Warning! We’re hearing of Green Industry firms that are being fined for not being in compliance with Executive Orders related to COVID-19. All firms must have a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan in place and be following it to be in compliance. We’ve developed downloadable plans for our Landscape Contractors, Garden/Retailer, Growers, and Lawncare member firms. These can be downloaded for your use by clicking on the plan(s) that best describe your business.
Preparedness Plan for Contractors
Preparedness Plan for Garden/Retail
Preparedness Plan for Growers
Preparedness Plan for Lawncare
Breaking News! USDA to Provide Additional Direct Assistance to Farmers and Ranchers Impacted by the Coronavirus – brought to you through our partnership with AmericanHort
Today the USDA announced a second phase Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2). USDA will make up to $14 billion in additional funding available under streamlined program provisions. For Horticulture, the basic approach is to calculate payments on a percent of lost sales 2020 vs. 2019. Payment rate sounds like it will be roughly 10 percent of loss. This program is distinct from CFAP 1. There will be payment limits and other restrictions that sound the same as CFAP 1. The application period will run from September 21 to December 11. More details, resources, and the ability to apply online can be found in this release: https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/09/18/usda-provide-additional-direct-assistance-farmers-and-ranchers.
August 21, 2020 Updates:
USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Expanded to Include Nursery Crops and Cut Flower Coverage!
On August 11th, USDA announced that nursery crops and cut flowers are eligible for CFAP. Specifically,
• Nursery crops means decorative or non-decorative plants grown in a container or controlled environment for commercial sale.
• Cut flowers includes cut flowers and cut greenery from annual and perennial flowering plants grown in a container or controlled environment for commercial sale. Read more...
Grant Funds Still Available for Farms, Agricultural Processors to Help Support COVID-19 Safety Efforts
Note: MNLA sought clarification on whether or not these programs include Nursery and Greenhouse Operations and received this response: “All operations that are supported by a Schedule F filing for a farm are eligible for these grant funds.”
For immediate release: August 18, 2020
LANSING—Applications for grant funds are still available through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant and the MEDC Small Farm Safety Grant programs for farmers and agricultural processors throughout the state. In tandem, the grant programs aim to help both large and small Michigan farms, as well as agricultural processors, and mitigate the risks of COVID-19 across the state’s food production industry.
“We want to make sure that our farmers and food processors are aware of the resources available to them,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “The health and safety of Michigan’s food and agriculture workers will be even more important over the next few months as crops are harvested and products make their way to grocery store shelves.” Read more...
Mandatory Testing, Preventative Measures, and Safe Housing for Agricultural Workers – Emergency Order Under MCL 333.2253 – August 24 Deadline Approaching
On August 3rd, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an order that requires mandatory COVID-19 testing for migrant housing camps and agricultural workers. There are many issues with this Order and we’ve joined a coalition of Ag commodities working to make this less onerous for both our nursery and greenhouse members and their employees. Updates will be forwarded on our efforts but at this point we need to comply with the August 24th deadline.
Michigan Executive Order and Directives Updates
Through the writing of this today, there have been 170 Executive Orders written and executed by the Governor, many of which were done without notice, all of which require compliance. In addition, there have been Executive Directives by the Governor and Emergency Orders from Departments. Since we’ve been under the State of Emergency that allows governance by Orders, Directives and FAQs, we’ve taken an active role of monitoring each to ensure that you continue to operate in compliance.
Here is a list of the current orders that we know are impacting the Green Industry as a whole. Important Note: As we don’t know the intricacies of each of your businesses, we recommend that you review all Orders to make sure that you stay in compliance.
– No. 2020-76 Temporary expansions in Unemployment eligibility and cost-sharing
– No. 2020-153 Masks
– No. 2020-137 Protecting the Food Supply and Migrant and Seasonal Ag Workers form the effects of COVID-19
– No. 2020-157 Temporary suspension of youth work permit application requirements
– No. 2020-160 Amended Safe Start Order
– No. 2020-161 Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19
– No. 2020-166 Protecting workers who stay home, stay safe when they or their close contacts are sick
Please CLICK HERE to see these and all Executive Orders.
July 17, 2020: Breaking News! Updates on Executive Orders
Hello MNLA Members:
We hope that you, your family, and everyone in your business are staying healthy. With the additions of new and rescissions of current Michigan Executive Orders, here are updates to help keep your Green Industry business in compliance.
In this update:
1. Breaking News Friday, July 17—New Order on Masks – Executive Order No. 2020-153 (rescission of EO 2020-147)
2. Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19 – Executive Order No. 2020-145 (rescission of EO 2020-114)
3. What to do if a worker tests positive for COVID-19 OR comes in close contact with an individual who tests positive or with an individual that displays one or more of the principal symptoms – Executive Order No. 2020-36
4. Youth Employment -Executive Order No. 2020-140
5. Migrant and Seasonal Workers – Executive Order No. 2020-137
1. Breaking News--New Order on Masks:
Executive Order No. 2020-153 was introduced with immediate effect this afternoon and rescinds EO 2020-147 that was effective on July 13, 2020. EO 2020-153 still requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering. No shirts, no shoes, no mask—no service.
You must post signs at your entrance instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside. We’ve attached a sign developed by the MI Dept of Labor and Economic Opportunity that meets the requirements in this Order.
In addition, this Order clarifies that businesses may not assume that an unmasked customer cannot medically tolerate a face covering, though they may accept a customer’s verbal representation to that effect. What this means for you—you should not assume that a mask-less customer legally falls within an exemption from wearing a mask (either under the age of 5 or they cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering) and you can ask a customer and accept their answer that they are not wearing a mask because of one of the exceptions.
Willful violations of this order are subject to a $500 fine and a misdemeanor consistent with MCL 10.33 and MCL 30.405(3). Additionally, those found in violation are potentially subject to suspension of any applicable business license (including but not limited to a liquor license).
2. Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19:
CLICK HERE for Executive Order No. 2020-145 which details what each Michigan business must be doing to remain open.
All business must comply with 1. (a) thru (u) and…
…Outdoor businesses must comply with 2.
…Retail businesses must comply with 6.
…Manufacturing facilities must comply with 4.
3. What to do if a worker tests positive for COVID-19 OR comes in close contact with an individual who tests positive or with an individual that displays one or more of the principal symptoms – Executive Order No. 2020-36. As an employer you must comply with all sections in this Order, but here are the two sections that describe what you should do if a worker has either of these scenarios:
EO No. 2020-36, Section 2.
2. Subject to the exceptions in section 5 of this order, it is the public policy of this state that any and all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who display one or more of the principal symptoms of COVID-19 should remain in their home or place of residence, even if they are otherwise permitted to leave under Executive Order 2020-21 or any executive order that may follow it, until:
(a) three days have passed since their symptoms have resolved, and
(b) seven days have passed since their symptoms first appeared or since they were swabbed for the test that yielded the positive result.
This section will cease to apply to anyone who, after showing symptoms, receives a negative COVID-19 test.
EO No. 2020-36, Section 3.
3. Subject to the exceptions in section 5 of this order, it is the public policy of this state that any and all people who have had close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or with an individual who displays one or more of the principal symptoms of COVID-19 should remain in their home or place of residence, even if they are otherwise permitted to leave under Executive Order 2020-21 or any executive order that may follow it, until either 14 days have passed since the last close contact with the sick or symptomatic individual, or the symptomatic individual receives a negative COVID-19 test.
4. Youth Employment:
If you employ youth in your business please note that in Executive Order 2020-140 to temporarily suspend requiring an application of a work permit to be made in person. It may be submitted by mail, email, fax, or web-based form. In addition, this Order temporarily suspends the requirement that the color of work permits or minors under 16 years of age does not need to be distinct from that of work permits for minors 16 years of age and over.
5. Migrant and Seasonal Ag Workers:
All owners and operators of employer-provided migrant housing camps licensed by the MI Dept of Ag & Rural Development must comply with Executive Order No. 2020-137.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I can be reached by email at Amy@MNLA.org or by telephone at (517) 381-0437.
Thank you and please be safe.
Amy Upton, MNLA
May 28, 2020: MDARD Announces Temporary Program to get Commercial Pesticide Applicators Registered
Good Afternoon MNLA Members,
The Michigan Dept of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has received authority to develop a temporary program that allows you, a Michigan business, to get your employees trained to apply general use pesticides only (restricted use pesticides are not allowed under this program) during this time that in-person exams are not available. This temporary program is the Registered Applicator Program and only applies to the commercial applicators (there is a separate program for Private Applicators). This is an overview of how it works:
1. One of your employees, that is a currently certified pesticide applicator with at least 2 years of experience, takes and passes a Registered Applicator Trainer Exam (this is scheduled and done over the telephone with an MDARD representative).
2. Once this employee passes the exam they become a Registered Applicator Trainer and they then can then train your other employees (with an program already developed by MSU and available at no charge).
3. After this training the Trainer administers an exam to these employees. Once an employee passes with a score of 70% or better, the trainer completes a Registered Applicator Verification Form and Application and mails it in with a check or money order for $45 to the MDARD.
4. Once these steps are completed, the Registered Applicator can begin working immediately.
The full program, the Exam, Forms, and instructions (with a frequently asked questions and answers) are attached HERE. Please contact me should you have any questions.
Thank you and please take care.
Amy Upton, MNLA
May 15, 2020: MNLA Member Updates & Information
To Our Valued Green Industry Members:
On behalf of the MNLA Team we continue to work to keep you in compliance, provide information to keep you and your employees safe, advocate for and administer the services you need, and keep you up-to-date on pertinent items and issues.
Here are topics included in today’s communication:
April 30, 2020: Preparedness Plans for Landscape Contractors, Retail Garden Centers and Lawncare Managers
Any decision to continue operating during COVID-19 is at the sole discretion of the business owner. Please make your business decision based on what is best for your employee's, customer's, and supplier's health. If you choose to operate, here is an explanation of, and reminder to follow, the enhanced social distancing guidelines as outlined in Executive Order NO. 2020-59. It is important that we remain vigilant and follow these guidelines in order to keep our employees and customers safe and to retain our ability to work. Remember, we are a highly visible industry and we are being watched. If you see a firm not following these guidelines please let us know and we will contact them directly. Your report will remain anonymous. Please contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org to place a report.
All segments of our industry that remain open for in-person work must adhere to Section 11 of the Executive Order (click here to see the full text in Section 11). Here are the key points:
1. Every business must implement and have a Preparedness and Response Plan available at company headquarters or the worksite. We’ve developed templates of these plans for your use—“Preparedness Plan for Landscape Contractors”, “Preparedness Plan for Retail Garden Centers”, “Preparedness Plan for Growers", and “Preparedness Plan for Lawncare Managers”. Please download the appropriate plan and personalize it for your company’s use by adding your company name and implementing and adhering to the safety protocols within.
2.The Executive Order does not allow gatherings of any size in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another. This includes work trucks! You CANNOT have more than one individual per truck, unless they are six feet from each other. We know that this is going to make it hard on our businesses but if we don’t comply with this we may not be able to work at all.
3. You must limit in-person interaction with clients and patrons to the maximum extent possible, and barring this interaction if you cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.
4.You must provide personal protective equipment as appropriate for the activity being performed. This includes gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks.
5.You must limit the sharing of tools and equipment and ensure frequent and thorough cleaning of tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces.
6. You must restrict the number of workers on premises to no more than is strictly necessary.
7.You must keep workers and patrons who are on premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible.
8.You must increase facility cleaning and disinfection and adopt protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.
9.You must adopt policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they display symptoms or have had contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (these policies are included in the Preparedness Plans—see above).
April 24, 2020:
We are pleased to report that through our collective efforts our industry has been exempted in Executive Order No. 2020-59 and we are allowed to go back to work. REMEMBER: We are still in a pandemic and we must be diligent in following safety protocols in order to keep everyone in our industry safe. If you cannot work safely, then please do not go back to work.
Working is now a privilege that we must not take lightly or it will be taken away.
We are still under a Stay-at-Home Order, which means that people are home and are going to be watching everything that goes on in their neighborhoods.
It is important that under this scrutiny our industry as a collective whole is showing that we are following the safety protocols and are keeping our employees and customers safe.
Let’s start a peer-to-peer support group and whenever possible let’s encourage each other to follow the rules and implement safety protocols.
According to our attorney, here is what you have to know and do to go back to work under Executive Order NO. 2020-59:
1. We were exempted in 10.(c) of the order:
- Workers for garden stores, nurseries, and lawn care, pest control, and landscaping operations, subject to the enhanced social-distancing rules described in section 11(h) of this order.
2. This Order has immediate effect and you can go back to work/open your stores as soon as you have done the following items.
3. If you choose to go back to work, you MUST adhere to section 11:
- 11. Businesses, operations, and government agencies that remain open for in-person work must adhere to sound social distancing practices and measures, which include but are not limited to:
(a) Developing a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with recommendations in Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, developed by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (attached). Such plan must be available at company headquarters or the worksite. Read the safety protocols below that we’ve assembled from our partners. They are in both English and Spanish.
(b) Restricting the number of workers present on premises to no more than is strictly necessary to perform the in-person work permitted under this order.
(c) Promoting remote work to the fullest extent possible.
(d) Keeping workers and patrons who are on premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible.
(e) Increasing standards of facility cleaning and disinfection to limit worker and patron exposure to COVID-19, as well as adopting protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.
(f) Adopting policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
(g) Any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the CDC.
(h) For businesses and operations whose in-person work is permitted under sections 10(c) through 10(e) of this order, the following additional measures must also be taken:
(1) Barring gatherings of any size in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.
(2) Limiting in-person interaction with clients and patrons to the maximum extent possible, and barring any such interaction in which people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another.
(3) Providing personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks as appropriate for the activity being performed.
(4) Adopting protocols to limit the sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible and to ensure frequent and thorough cleaning of tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces.
4. To reiterate, Section 11(h)(2) says these resumed businesses should limit in-person interaction with clients and patrons to the maximum extent possible, barring any such interactions in which people cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from one another. Online order and curbside pickup would be the easiest way to do this. But, if a garden store or nursery could facilitate shopping and checkout without in-person interaction (between employees and patrons or among patrons) that is also permissible.
5. Section 7 is the place where individuals are given permission to leave their homes. Section 7(a)(4) gives permission to perform the resumed activities described in section 10 (our section) “after being designated to perform such work by their employers.” So, every business should draft a memo to file designating all of their employers to perform work under Section 10(c) and keep it on file, in case anyone asks.
Thank you and please be safe out there.
Here are Safety Protocols that we’ve assembled from our national partners and other states that are working and adhering the CDC Social Distancing Guidelines. These protocols are in both English and Spanish. It will not be business as usual and it is imperative that we are prepared and are adhering to these protocols. Public pressure will be great and we must present ourselves as a professional industry that is working safely.
April 23, 2020: Michigan landscapers are ready to get back to work during the COVID-19 crisis – and we’re ready to do it safely! Help us get the message to Governor Whitmer that our work is contactless, safe and important.
April 18, 2020: Important Announcement--Filed Complaint regarding Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-42
Dear MNLA Members,
On behalf of the MNLA Board of Directors, a lawsuit has been filed in federal court on behalf of the MNLA membership and several specific companies regarding Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-42. The decision was made with much debate and careful thought by your MNLA Board but we felt this was the best way to defend your right to work safely and help you and your employees get back to work. More details can be found in the Press Release below and will be made available as updates next week.
Please be safe.
Amy Upton, Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association
April 17, 2020: Online Resources & Opportunities for the week of April 20-24th
April 16, 2020: MNLA Updates - Act NOW and Snow tomorrow
Good Afternoon MNLA Members:
1) ACT NOW to Demonstrate that the Green Industry can work safely!
2) Accumulating snow predicted for tomorrow—can you legally do snow removal for all of your clients?
1) Garden Center, Lawn Care, and Landscapers—ACT NOW to Demonstrate that the Green Industry can work safely!
On April 7th, Senate Majority Leader Shirkey announced the formation of the “Safe Behavior for Safe Workplaces” workgroup led by Senator Horn. The workgroup was established to gather information from businesses, medical professionals and citizens across Michigan to create recommendations for best practices in the workplace in preparation for a transition back to work.
They’ve established a website and WE NEED ALL GREEN INDUSTRY COMPANIES AND EMPLPOYEES to click HERE to go to this website and fill in the safety protocols that you will implement/use, should you be allowed to go back to work. The responses they receive will be put into recommendations and sent to the Governor for consideration. Please note: this Call to Action does NOT apply to our nursery and greenhouse grower operations that fall under the agriculture exemption.
The MNLA has compiled safety protocols for our independent RETAIL GARDEN CENTERS/RETAIL GREENHOUSE GROWERS, our LAWN CARE, and our LANDSCAPE FIRMS. These protocols are attached and you can copy and paste the ones you will implement/use directly into the area provided on this website.
2) Accumulating snow predicted for tomorrow—can you legally do snow removal for your clients?
We are expecting accumulating snow for tomorrow and the MNLA team is asking the Governor for clarification on which of your customers you can service. When and if we get clarification from her office we’ll let you know. Until then we can only refer back to and use our best judgement on EO 2020-42 and the subsequent FAQ put into effect on April 9, 2020 (language is at the link below in section a) ):
a) You can provide snow removal service IF you are designated a supplier, distribution center, or service provider by a critical infrastructure business! In Section 9. (b) (1) – (4) of the Executive Order (CLICK HERE) you can continue to work if you are designated a supplier, distribution center, or service provider by a critical infrastructure business. These designations should be made in writing.
b) FAQ/EO 2020-42: May landscaping, lawncare, tree service, irrigation, and related outdoor maintenance companies operate under this order?
In nearly all cases, no. A business cannot designate workers to perform these services unless the service is necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of a residence. This is a narrow exception that only permits in-person work that is strictly necessary to address a circumstance that
immediately and genuinely impairs the habitability of a home during the emergency; the exception will be satisfied, at most, rarely. Routine concerns, such as about longer grass increasing insects, pests, or allergies, do not qualify. Nor can workers leave the home to perform these services at business facilities: the exception applies only to residences. Any necessary in-person work that is permitted under the order must be done in accordance with the mitigation measures required under section 10 of the order. The order does not prohibit homeowners from tending to their own yards as they see fit.
You can contact me at email@example.com should you have any questions.
Working together we will get through this, be safe and prosper!
April 13, 2020: Updates from the MNLA Office
On behalf of everyone at MNLA, we hope that you and your family are healthy.
Here are updates from the MNLA Team. Please note that information is changing on an hourly basis and we’re working hard to keep you informed. We appreciate your patience during this fluid situation. In today’s update we’re providing the following:
1. Our New Executive Order and FAQ
5. Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Effective Date April 1st - Employer Responsibilities
6. MNLA Member COVID-19 Survey – Please CLICK HERE to provide us with
how our Stay-at-Home Order is impacting your business. The information
you provide is confidential and will be utilized only to get you safely
back to work.
April 10, 2020: Online Resources & Opportunities for the week of April 13-16th
April 7, 2020: Updates from the MNLA Office
April 3, 2020: Online Resources & Opportunities for the week of April 6-9th
March 30, 2020: Updates from the MNLA Team
March 26, 2020: Breaking News from Governor Whitmer's Press Conference Today