Greenhouses and garden centers have safety action plan to open May 1

Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 11:47:05-04

STERLING HEIGHTS (WXYZ) — Owners of greenhouses and garden centers in Michigan say they’re ready to reopen and are urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to allow them to open when the stay-at-home order expires on May 1.

The owner at Eckert's Greenhouse in Sterling Heights says this is an important time of year for Michigan greenhouses. That’s why they’ve come up with a plan to open safely.

"What we’re trying to do is keep both employee and customer safe," said Karl Eckert, owner at Eckert's Greenhouse.

Eckert says it’s been hard not being able to open his greenhouse after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued the stay-at-home order.

"We’ve got six weeks to run through 80 percent of our product, so May 1 is critical," he said.

The Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council recently sent Whitmer an action plan on how they would safely operate.

At Eckerts, they're offering curbside pickup and call-ahead orders. They’ve also installed signs throughout the greenhouse reminding customers of social distancing guidelines. They also plan to hand out masks and gloves to shoppers at the entrance.

"When you come up you’re going to see the signage" Eckert said. "If you're sick stay home, don’t come in. We’re going to limit how many people come into the facility."

Chris Schwartz with Schwartz’s Greenhouse in Romulus also has similar plans to keep shoppers safe including online ordering and contactless pickup.

"We’ve had one way aisles, we’ve implemented a system where there is social distancing signs on each cart," Schwartz said. "We’ve also got people that are going to sanitize all the carts before a new patron takes them."

Schwartz says greenhouses and garden centers need to open.

"It’s imperative that we be one of the first to open safely," he said. "Again, it’s all about doing this safely but it’s an important revenue stream."

Eckert says if greenhouses can’t open come May 1, it could be catastrophic for the business.

"We couldn’t get over that hump," he said. "That would be too much for our area, southeast Michigan."

If they don’t open, both greenhouse owners say they could see monetary loses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.