Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
March 25, 2020
At this time we still have not received word from the Governor's office clarifying the essential service exemption for the industry.
However, it has been suggested that all providers carry a copy of the federal exemption with them and to limit crews to one per vehicle. Masks should also be provided to employees.
Many contractors are basing their decision on the circumstances of what services they are providing. If they are approached they can cite the federal exemption but this may not prevent local enforcement. That will obviously be left to individual jurisdictions.
This is not a recommendation by the Association, however, measures that businesses can take as we wait for Governor Whitmer's clarification deeming our industry essential or non-essential.
CISA Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce
Should you decide to work, it is stressed that you must follow the safety guidelines in Section 5 of Executive Order 2020-21. We acknowledge and recognize the sacrifices made by those companies that have decided to cease operations and advocate that all companies work with legal counsel before making a determination on their operations.
Here are some questions to ask yourselves when making the determination to work or not work:
- Is the work you are performing today essential to the health, safety, and security of the general public?
- Does this work for any reason put the health and safety of your employees, their families, or your clients at risk?
- Can the work you plan on performing today be done at a later date, or is it of a time-sensitive nature?
We present these questions for those of you who choose to continue to do business, these are the questions we have been told that you and your staff will need to be prepared to defend, not only to local enforcement but to your peers, your employees, and the general public.
Here are some industry best practices to follow:
- Get verbal and/or written confirmation from your clients that they allow you to work on their property and communicate the times you plan to be on their property.
- Inform clients of the safety protocols your company has put in place, including but not limited to proximity rules (6 feet).
- Designate an on-site contact (potentially the foreman) for your clients. Ask them not to approach workers, other than this contact.
- Be prepared to cease working if a client raises any health or safety concerns or if local law enforcement prohibits it.
- Allow employees who are uncomfortable working to stay home. (Some may have time-off they can use.)
- Be mindful of those employees currently receiving unemployment benefits that you have not called back yet. Given the number of people filing currently, it may be more difficult for them to reapply.
- Communicate and reinforce all safety protocols daily, via text/email. Also, communicate daily why the work you are doing is considered essential.
- Train designated personnel (possibly foreman) to answer safety and health questions from the public clearly and concisely. Written safety rules should be carried with employees.
- If employees will be on one job site all day long, encourage meeting on-site, rather than at the shop.
- In instances where employees must report to the shop, stagger crew start times to minimize proximity issues. Businesses should operate with the least amount of employees necessary on any site.
- All employees should have their temperatures logged at the beginning and end of the workday.
- If at all possible, limit crews to one person per truck. Masks should be provided.
- Enforce sanitation of all common areas including trucks, storage rooms, offices, restrooms, etc.
- Wear proper PPE at all times. Store PPE in clear plastic bags, sanitizing PPE at the end of every day. DO NOT, for any reason, share PPE.
- Minimize the use of shared equipment, making sure to properly and fully sanitize all equipment after each use.
- Always maintain proper social distancing (6 feet), unless necessary. In the event, employees must work close to one another, for heavy lifting, etc.,
- wear a face mask and gloves. Once separated, immediately wash/sanitize hands.
MGIA will continue to update you as information becomes available from the Governor’s Office. Again, this is not a recommendation by the Association, however, measures that businesses can take as we wait for Governor Whitmer's clarification deeming our industry essential or non-essential.
Continue to follow the safety guidelines for COVID-19
On March 24, 2020 an order issued by the Governor restricting the continued operation of all non-essential businesses in the state became effective. The order will remain in effect until April 13, 2020.
Michigan has followed the guidance provided by the Department of Homeland Security, Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response in determining which industries are “essential” and can therefore remain in operation.
The provision that includes landscape services is:
“Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences”
In addition, NALP’s position can be read here which identifies the role the landscape industry is playing to protect other essential critical workers while also protecting public health and safety.
All member businesses based in Oakland County are now subject to new rules. Oakland County has adopted Public Health Code, MCL 333.2453, see link below.
OAKLAND COUNTY EMERGENCY ORDER (2020-5) FOR CONTROL OF PANDEMIC
Resource Link: Staff Screening Checklist for Businesses
The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) Offers State by State COVID-19 Guidance