SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As the coronavirus pandemic continues and California adjusts to the new normal, many workers have had to transition to working from home while non-essential businesses have been forced to temporarily close.
As such, many have asked about jobs and workers that seem to be in a gray area.
The landscaping industry falls into that gray area. After all, the idea of "essential" has been mostly grocery stores and hospitals lately.
However, some landscaping services are necessary for public safety, from simple, regular maintenance to reducing the spread of diseases carried by pests like mosquitos, ticks, and fleas.
California's stay-at-home ordinance is following guidance from the Department of Homeland Security.
Under the "Public Works" section, “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC Technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses, and buildings such as hospitals, senior living facilities, any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response.”
Since landscape work can be preformed outdoors in small teams or even individually, this work poses a lower risk of spreading COVID-19.
At the same time, there are certain services that are considered essential during this time, while others should be temporarily put on hold.
The National Association of Landscape Professionals [NALP] provides some guidance on the role of landscape professionals during this time. Maintaining the environments around hospitals, government facilities, housing areas, parks, and schools are deemed key to protecting public safety.
Some of the services that landscape professionals and companies should focus on include:
- performing regular maintenance to mow, prune control weeds, and inspect for safety and security issues;
- performing essential treatments to reduce the spread of dangerous and deadly diseases through pests like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas;
- removing fallen trees and mitigating overhead hazards from wind effects;
- providing maintenance and plant removal to assist in fire abatement;
- managing invasive species; and
- keeping public and private pathways free from obstruction and potential risk.
The NALP also provides new safety tips to combat the spread of COVID-19 as workers preform essential duties.
Though the nature of landscape work provides a relatively low-risk environment, it is necessary that workers practice safe social distancing. All office workers should be transitioned to a "work from home" set up. Flexible work times and increased sanitation is highly recommended.
The NALP continues to provide guidelines and updated information for landscape professionals here.
Additionally, NALP has launched a Financial Resources section dedicated to keeping landscapers informed about leveraging financial help during the pandemic. This site also includes information of applying for Federal programs, including the CARES Act.
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