Critical Business List Status

The Minnesota Governor's office first issued the Minnesota Critical Sector List on March 25, an update on March 29, and a further update on April 8. See below for the status of green industry business segments.

RESOURCE [updated 4.09.20]: MNLA and Zlimen & McGuiness PLLC have developed and updated a Critical Business Employee Verification Template for employees to keep with them during travel. The verification form is NOT a requirement of law nor the Governor's Executive Order 20-33, but may be helpful for your employees.  Note that this is a template only, and needs modification by your company to be used with your employees.

Critical Sector List Current Status (as of April 8)

Exempt under revised guidance of EO 20-33

Exempt under “agriculture guidelines”

  • Wholesale nursery grower production
  • Greenhouse (commercial flower) grower production

Exempt under NACIS codes including but not limited to 4233 "Lumber and Other Construction Materials" and 4249 "Misc. Non-Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers."

  • Wholesale sales for construction or maintenance

Exempt for delivery only

  • Florists

Exempt for conducting maintenance

  • Golf courses
IMPORTANT: This is not business as usual!

As Green Industry businesses and workers return to job sites, garden centers, and other areas of work, care must be taken by each business and worker to ensure social distancing, hygiene, sanitation, and best practice to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread.

Critical Business List Update Archives

Clarification Issued on "Landscaping" by Governor's Office

[March 29] |MNLA received further clarification today after appealing to the Governor's office yesterday regarding the reclassification of "landscaping":

“Landscaping is not generally exempt, unless it is done in service to a critical industry or an emergency need. An example of a critical industry is construction.”

President Tim Malooly, CID, CIC, CLIA gives an analysis of the current situation in an email sent March 29: Click here to read President Malooly's email.

Sudden Change to Critical Business Classifications

[March 28] |This evening MNLA sent an email written by President Tim Malooly, CID, CIC, CLIA to inform members of the current situation in regards to classifying critical businesses in Minnesota. After giving an overview of MNLA's advocacy leading up to today, he explains:

Overnight, unbeknownst to MNLA, the Governor’s office published an updated interpretation of the “Critical Worker” definitions. Page six of the updated official document includes new, surprise information that broadly declared: “Clarification added March 27, 2020: Lawncare and landscaping workers are not exempted”

Malooly outlines the actions MNLA took today to appeal for a revision: Click here to read President Malooly's email.

MNLA Receives Guidance from Governor Regarding Retail Garden Center Sales

[March 27] | The Commissioner of Agriculture has relayed that the Governor offered guidance regarding retail garden center sales during the two week “stay-at-home” order (midnight March 27, 2020 through midnight April 10, 2020):

       “…Workers supporting the sale for delivery only of existing perishable plant stock as of March 27, 2020 are exempt…”
Thoughts for consideration regarding the above-listed statement from the Governor:
  • Retail sales of perishables via delivery; can include curbside
    • Plants
    • Seeds
    • Etc.
  • Wholesale sales for construction or maintenance is exempt and constitutes “essential services” under the Governor’s stay-at-home order (Reference NACIS codes including but not limited to: 4233 "Lumber and Other Construction Materials" and 4249 "Misc. Non-Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers")

MNLA Submits Request for Garden Center Retail to be Deemed Critical

[March 26] | The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association requested that retail garden center businesses be permitted to continue physical operation and be listed as a critical industry in the Minnesota Critical Businesses List and EO 20-20. 

Most Green Industry Business May Choose to Continue to Operate During Stay-At-Home Order 

[March 25] | As you may have already heard, Gov. Walz issued an executive order today (EO 20-20) which directs Minnesotans to stay at home beginning on March 27 and lasting through April 10. Based on that announcement, there are three portions of the Executive Order into which MNLA believes green industry businesses fall…

  • Nursery & Greenhouse Growers

From the Governor's order:

Food and agriculture. This category is limited to food and agriculture workers listed in the CISA Guidance, including agricultural equipment repair services. For clarity, and for the purposes of this Executive Order, references to “beverages” include alcoholic beverages. The restrictions on restaurants, bars, and other places of public accommodation adopted in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-18 remain in effect.”

Growers of nursery, greenhouse and floriculture are listed on the NAICS list compiled by Governor Walz of "essential businesses." (See: NAICS code 1114 "Greenhouse, Nursery, and Floriculture Production" on the Governor's list of critical business.)

  • Landscape and Tree Care

From the Governor's order:

Construction and critical trades. This category includes workers in the skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC and elevator technicians, and other related construction of all kind. This category also includes exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, moving and relocation services, security staff, operating engineers, and all other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes and residences and the Critical Sectors listed in this Executive Order."

Landscape Maintenance Services, Construction, and Tree Care are listed on the NAICS list compiled by Governor Walz of "essential businesses." (See:  NAICS code 5617 "Services to Buildings and Dwellings" on the Governor's list of critical business.)

Note: MNLA has received express guidance from staff in the Governor's office that Landscape services (subcategory 561730) falls within this category.

  • Garden Centers

From the Governor's order:

Essential Supply Stores. This category is limited to workers at businesses that sell products, tools, materials, or supplies necessary for: (1) the above Critical Sectors to continue their essential operations, (2) for workers to work from home, or (3) for the maintenance of the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes or residences.”

Garden Centers are currently listed on the NAICS list compiled by Governor Walz as "non-essential." MNLA will continue to work to clarify and advocate for our garden center members moving forward. (See: NAICS code 4442 "Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores" Services to Buildings and Dwellings" on the Governor's list of critical business.)

Note: This is MNLA's current analysis. Please remember that MNLA’s charge is to advocate for its members and to provide clarification of the state laws and directives. Any decision to continue operating is at the sole discretion of the business owner. Remember the goal of the Governor’s directive: to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Please make your business decision based on what is best for your employee's, customer's, and supplier's health. In addition, should you choose to continue operations, MNLA advises strict adherence to MDH and CDC guidance.

MNLA Letter to Governor Tim Walz on Behalf of 'Essential' Green Industry 

[March 25] | As Minnesota's elected leadership considers a "shelter-in-place" order to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association is working with state leadership to allow essential green industry businesses to continue operation. 

Click here to review the letter.

Wisconsin Governor Announces 'Safe-at-Home' Order, Essential Businesses Defined

[March 24] | Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers released an emergency executive order on March 24, 2020 ordering limited travel, business closures, and other COVID-19 responses in the state, while outlining which businesses would be considered “essential.” While these are new and in need of clarification, they include the below language, which could be interpreted to include greenhouses and landscape services. Please stay tuned for updates and further clarifications on this order. Please note, Minnesota has yet to issue a similar lockdown order.

From the Wisconsin Emergency Order 12 Stay at Home Order:

13. Essential Businesses and Operations. All entities described in this section shall meet Social Distancing Requirements between all individuals on the premises to the extent possible. Essential Businesses and Operations shall, to the greatest extent possible, use technology to avoid meeting in person, including virtual meetings, teleconference, and remote work (i.e., work from home). For the purposes of this Order, Essential Businesses and Operations means Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Infrastructure, and Essential Governmental Functions, and the following:

n. Critical trades. Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, carpenters, laborers, sheet metal, iron workers, masonry, pipe trades, fabricators, finishers, exterminators, pesticide application, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, forestry and arborists, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Businesses and Operations.

v. Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries. Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitation, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, and products used by other Essential Governmental Functions and Essential Businesses and Operations.

MNLA Sends Letter To Governor Walz, Lt. Governor, and Commissioner of Agriculture

[March 22] | MNLA sent a letter to local officials this weekend requesting that Green Industry Businesses be noted as essential.

Click here to read the letter.

Update from Governor Walz on Business Closures

[March 19] | From Governor Walz: "As a reminder, on Monday Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-04 to order the temporary closure of Minnesota restaurants and bars to dine-in customers. He also ordered the temporary closure of other places of public accommodation and amusement, including theaters, museums, fitness centers, and community clubs. Today, he issued a clarification which extends the order to apply to salons, barbershops, and other similar establishments."

MNLA Urges Policymakers to Consider Garden Centers as "Essential Businesses"

[March 18] | MNLA is working to urge public policy makers to ensure that garden centers remain open and are deemed "essential businesses."

Click here to take action and let your elected officials know that garden centers provide essential services, especially in times of crisis.

As our nation, communities and businesses react to the spread of COVID-19, the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA) commends the efforts of local, state and federal governments to mitigate the impact and strive to keep the public safe and healthy.

The discussion of how to best ensure the public health has included the possibility of asking "non-essential" retail operations to shut their doors for a period of time, with the intent of minimizing exposure to the virus.

The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association is fully in support of sensible steps public health officials may deem necessary to combat COVID-19. At the same, we urge public officials at all levels of government to consider garden retailers among those retail operations determined to be "essential" and allow these business owners the option to stay open as a public service.

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