Last week I submitted a clarification request to the state to be sure whether my services are considered essential not. I heard that other companies in the area are still out and working, however I wanted to be sure that I am considered essential. Unfortunately the response I got back from the state was just as vague and inconclusive as the essential list is to begin with. It said:
Thank you for your inquiry. Landscaping is allowed, but only to the extent necessary to prevent imminent damage or spoliation of hardscape or greenery. Routine maintenance is not permitted.
The response left me wondering, what is the difference between landscaping to prevent “imminent damage” and routine work? As someone who has worked in the landscaping industry for 10 years, I can tell you that routine maintenance is required in order to prevent damage. If you let your lawn grow too tall and mow it down afterwards it will be damaged. If you let shrubs grow for too long without trimming they will be bald and ugly once you cut them. If you don’t routinely weed your beds they will turn to weed-sod.
I have suspended operations and will continue to abide by the quarantine. I have also put in a request (see below) to be included in the essential business list going forward, because I believe that landscaping is essential to maintaining a healthy civic environment. I understand and support the premise of the quarantine but don’t believe it should apply to my services because the amount of client contact can be reduced to 0. I am also concerned that if the quarantine is perpetuated and landscaping is omitted from the list of essential businesses it will cause unsanitary conditions. There are many people who rely on my services to keep their properties clean.
I will continue to update everyone via my blog and via social media. Please, for the sake of all of us small businesses out there, follow the guidelines put forth by the state and the CDC. I know it’s tough to stay home when you have work to do and bills to pay, but it won’t go away unless we all do our part. For more information on how to stay safe during these strange times check out what the CDC has to say: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html