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Michigan greenhouses & garden centers say they're ready to open on May 1

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Posted at 11:22 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 12:47:33-04

(WXYZ) — Greenhouses and garden centers in Michigan are urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to allow them to reopen when the stay-at-home order expires on May 1, saying that they have taken necessary precautions.

The Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council said they gave the governor's office an action plan on how they would safely operate, provide paychecks and meet the needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

”The threat and impact of COVID-19 is real, and we are not discounting that,” said Dave Mast of Andy Mast Greenhouses in Grand Rapids and president of the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council. “We feel it is our responsibility to operate in a safe way upon reopening and that is why garden centers have taken carefully targeted steps to ensure safe operations, including changes to how we do business.”

The changes in greenhouses that have occurred to protect people include:

– Offering online shopping, call ahead orders, curbside pickup or delivery as available.
– Limiting the number of customers near the cash registers and in the store at any given time. Many retailers are marking the floor in check-out lines to encourage social distancing.
– Sanitizing all carts, baskets, door handles throughout the day, as well as the credit card pads.
– Sanitizing all surfaces regularly.
– Having hand sanitizer available at the checkout for consumers and staff.
– Requiring social distancing between staff and customers in the store, grounds and greenhouses. Greenhouses are so large, social distancing is not hard and the person-per-square foot guidelines are easily met.
– Greenhouses are also respectfully asking any individual – whether a customer or an employee – exhibiting even minor symptoms to stay home.

“Spring is a critical time for our industry and the Michiganders we employ,” said Chris Schwartz of Schwartz Greenhouse in Romulus. “If we don’t get back to work soon, there will be a devastating impact to greenhouse and garden workers and their families.”

Places across Michigan have also added safety measures, including:

– Weesies Brothers Greenhouse in Montague has installed plexiglass enclosures at all checkouts to protect employees and the public, as well as spacing labels on the floor to encourage social distancing.
– Schwartz’s Greenhouse in Romulus has planned dedicated shopping hours for those most vulnerable to the coronavirus and have dedicated employees to sanitize shopping carts before and after each use.
– Countryside Greenhouse in Allendale features an open-air environment with ventilation, meaning customers will experience over air far exceeding an indoor shopping experience.
– Eckert’s Greenhouse in Sterling Heights has installed signage in the parking house and throughout the greenhouse reminding customers of social distancing guidelines, and plans to hand out masks and gloves to shoppers at the entrance.
– VanAtta Greenhouse in Lansing offers contactless curbside and delivery options for customers, and features outdoor open-air shopping like most other greenhouses in the state.

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