Operating Safely During COVID-19

Any decision to continue operating during COVID-19 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.  Below are some resources on maintaining a safe operation during COVID-19.

COVID-19 Preparedness Plans

As Minnesota moves to safely reopen the state’s economy, state guidelines require that all businesses develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan under the supervision of a designated Plan Administrator prior to opening, or in the case of ‘Critical Sector’ businesses, by June 29.

These plans are to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in areas of public contact and to ensure the safety of all Minnesotans who work in the state.

The Green Industry, deemed an essential industry by the Governor’s office, is included in this requirement. Businesses that were deemed ‘essential,’ and allowed operate before the end of the stay-at-home order must prepare and implement a plan by June 29. MNLA members should take immediate steps to develop and implement these required plans, as enforced by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and the Minnesota Department of Health.

These businesses must ensure that this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan is posted conspicuously throughout the workplace to ensure ease of access by all workers and employees. Each plan must comply with he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) COVID-19 guidelines and OSHA standards. 

Click Here to Access the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Template and Instructions from MN DEED.

Industry Specific Guidance from DEED:

For additional COVID-19 related safety resources, Click Here

Examples from Members (April)

The following MNLA members have provided examples of ways they are helping protect both customers and employees during COVID-19.  If you have an example you're willing to share, please send it along to us!  We're all in this together!

Examples for Everyone

Examples for Retail

  • Communication to Customers of How the Shopping Experience will be Different During COVID-19 
    • (provided by Bachman's, Inc.)You can continue to shop Bachmans.com or call to place orders for non-contact delivery and non-contact curbside pick-up.  Your shopping experience will look different as we alter operations to provide a safe and sanitized environment for everyone. We are taking these additional actions:

      • We will limit the number of people inside the greenhouse at one time.

      • We request that one person per family shops to assist with social distancing.

      • Dedicated entrances and exits will enable one-way traffic flow.

      • Carts will be entirely sanitized daily, with handles sanitized before each use.

      • Product will be displayed in a way that allows for easy social distancing.

      • Sale transactions will be done with extra precautions: Cash transactions will not be accepted.

      • Customers and team members will remain 6 feet apart at all times. Plexiglass shields on registers have been installed. Counters will be sanitized after each transaction. Merchandise returns will be temporarily unavailable.

      • Gloves will be worn by each team member, and staff will wash hands immediately after removing gloves.

      • All door handles will be cleaned repeatedly throughout the day 

    • Example of a website pop-up communication to customers (from Pahl's Market)

Examples for Crews

Free Training Tools

Greenius Resource Center & Workplace Tools

The team at Greenius has launched a Coronavirus Landscape Resource Center and Workplace Tools, featuring no-cost COVID-19 training tools in English and Spanish, links to other resources, and a list of COVID-19 Workplace Awareness and Best Practices.


Orora Visual Horticulture Social Distancing Signs

Print out and share these English/Spanish posters at your IGC, nursery, or greenhouse operation to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.


ZenGenius: Retail Checklist for Re-opening

A checklist for re-opening your retail location.

Other Guidance

MDA Guidance for Retail Nurseries and Garden Centers

MDA has issued COVID-19 operational recommendations for Guidance for Minnesota Garden Centers.

Best Management Practices from Pennsylvania

Practical Suggestions for Dealing with COVID-19 (Landscape Ontario)

Established contractors cooperated to create a list of precautions that landscape companies can immediately put in place to protect their employees, customers and businesses.

AmericanHort's Member's Tips on Operating During COVID-19

AmericanHort has gathered tips from Green Industry members in different parts of the country on how they are changing operations to comply with CDC and health department guidelines.   

National Association of Landscape Professionals

Operating and Communicating with Customers During the Quarantine

The COVID-19 crisis is evolving daily, and industry companies are adapting their operations to protect and serve their staff – and client needs

Landscape Industry Guidance for Business Operation During COVID-19

The landscape industry, including lawn care, landscape maintenance, design/build, tree care, and irrigation and water management, takes employee and client safety and health very seriously, employing regular safety training and enforcing strong safety standards on the job, following Federal guidelines. Landscape Industry firms use regularly scheduled employee training and adherence to Federal, state, and local safety and health standards to mitigate hazardous exposures at landscape work sites. Click here for a guidance list published by National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Safe Working Guidelines from OSHA, CDC, US Chamber, MN Chamber

  1. Guide on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (OSHA)
  2. Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 (CDC)
  3. US Chamber Guidelines for Employers
  4. Prevention Practices: Return to Work Safely (MN Chamber of Commerce)
  5. Families First Coronavirus Response Act regulations (FFCRA - link to DOL slides/further description)
  6. Safety and health guidelines for the employers and employees of essential work operations
  7. Labor standards and other worker protections in Minnesota

Scientific Resources 

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