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Safely Providing Gardening Services to My Clients during COVID-19

Safely Providing Gardening Services to My Clients during COVID-19

I’m hopeful that you and yours continue to be happy and healthy during this challenging time. It has been quite a few months and I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association and how proud I am of their clarifying language that has been sent to members, the association’s advocacy for our health and our communities health and their professional diligence during the pandemic. In an email sent from the WSNLA Executive Director, Breanne Chavez on April 14th, I found direction for my work in a way that could be safe for our communities as well as work that was supported by our Governor. My work with clients via zoom meetings, while social distancing via in person meetings and talking through a mask and understanding those that want to postpone for the time being – it is a sense of peace to have the clarity that was provided and I was thinking that my clients might also appreciate the details found below. “On March 31, Governor Inslee released a guidance document that included language on outdoor maintenance. This language is also now listed on the What’s Open, What’s Closed webpage.Outdoor maintenance, including vegetation, is deemed essential when necessary to prevent spoliation, avoid imminent damage, or address emergency repairs. Based on the Governor’s language clarifying outdoor maintenance, the guidance we are providing our members is that the basic necessary functions to keep the landscape healthy are allowed. On April 9, WSNLA sent a letter directly to The Governor’s Office communicating our continued guidance to members. WSNLA continues to advocate for member businesses via legislators and directly to The Governor’s Office. Any necessary update to this guidance will be given accordingly. Basic maintenance functions identified in the letter are in line with WSNLA’s previous member guidance given on March 30, including: Lawncare: Grass left to grow too long could trap moisture and encourage fungal diseases. Allowing grass to grow long and then mowing it can send the plant into shock. Grass roots become diminished and the lawn weakens, making it susceptible to damage by insects and diseases.  Lack of mowing also allows weeds to spread more readily thus increasing the potential need for herbicide treatments later. Source: Maintaining Safety & Access to Buildings, sidewalks and public areas: Clearing pathways, removing litter, debris, and downed branches and pruning for site safety. Pest & Disease Management: Integrated pest management, including managing overgrowth to prevent fostering pests and diseases. Irrigation Startup & Repair: Ensuring proper water management supports overall plant health, as well as checking and repairing potentially hazardous breaks and leaks. Source: Emergency repairs, including but not limited to structural, erosion control or water. Also added, was Cultivation of Food Grown at Home, which includes providing services supporting food to be grown at home. If you are a single owner/operator with no in-person, on-site public interaction, there is language in The Governor’s Proclamation 20-25 that addresses your ability to work. The specific language can be found near the end of the Proclamation: This Proclamation shall not be construed to prohibit working from home, operating a single owner business with no in-person, on-site public interaction, or restaurants and food services providing delivery or take-away services, so long as proper social distancing and sanitation measures are established and implemented. No business at this time should be operating with the mindset that this is ‘business as usual’. Whether you are essential, essential with restrictions, or an individual operating with no in-person, on-site public interactions, all operating businesses are required to adapt practices and implement required CDC guidelines for social distancing and sanitation.“

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