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Resources for Nursery and Greenhouses Operating During COVID-19 Outbreak
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PLNA Update on COVID-19 for PA Nursery and Greenhouse Production

Updated Monday, May 4, 2020 at 4:00 pm

PLNA’s responsibility 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 the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in our communities. Please make your business decision based on what is best for your employees, customers and suppliers health.

Should you choose to continue to operate, we suggest that you relax attendance policies to allow any employee who is uncomfortable working to stay home and use PTO or apply for UC. 

Please visit our Coronavirus Resources page for additional guidance through links, webinars and downloadable posters.

Secretary Levine's Safety Measure Order issued April 15, 2020

On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of the PA Department of Health issued an order directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-person Operations effective 8:00 pm on Sunday, April 19, 2020.

PLNA has reviewed the order and we have learned that there was clarification provided by Nate Wardle, press secretary for the Department of Health. The order applies to businesses where employees are interacting with the public. Mr. Wardle said life-sustaining businesses not directly serving the public should take proper precautions to protect themselves but are not required to follow the new guidelines.

If you have retail/wholesale sales operations and are dealing face-to-face with customers, you MUST follow the guidelines in those situations.

PLNA realizes that many of its members conduct business in many instances where they are not interacting with the public such as growers and landscape contractors. However, when your employees are interacting with the public it is important to follow the new guidelines. It is difficult to outline the all the possibilities of interacting with the public for the different sectors of our members, so please use your best judgement in setting protocols for your employees. And, if anyone wants to wear a mask all the time, they certainly can.

Suggested protocols:

Everyone should have a mask or bandana with them at all times while on the clock;

The masks should be worn in any public or social setting including but not limited to:
Face-to-face client interaction
Face-to-face vendor/supplier interaction
Any interaction with people outside of the normal work environment if they are in company logowear/uniform (getting gas, picking up lunch, etc.)
When a project requires an employee to be closer than 6 feet to another worker (e.g. setting a tree ball in a hole)
In common spaces within the offices/buildings (restrooms, copier, break rooms, supply areas)

Implement daily all-hands communications within company to inform, educate and reinforce SOPs, BMPs and possible next steps;

Train crew personnel to be able to respond to questions from the public in a professional manner;

 Enforce cleaning and sanitation protocols for all common spaces including trucks and equipment;

Stagger crew start times to minimize congregation at office/shop locations;

Limit crews to 1 person per truck and have all other crew personnel drive directly to jobsite;

Assign one truck to one crew and do not rotate so as to limit the number of persons with access to truck/equipment;

Minimize use of shared equipment and tools;

Wear gloves as much as possible removing only to eat, drink, or touch your face.

Governor Wolf's "Stay at Home" Order as of March 31, 2020   5:30 pm

At this time, per Governor's directives, Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Production businesses are deemed essential/life sustaining and you may continue to operate even if your county is included in the Stay At Home list

Governor Wolf's "Stay At Home" Order is effective state-wide beginning at 8:00 pm on April 1, 2020.

The order provides a list of allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel. It also list operations that are exempt from this order and that list of exemptions includes previously determined essential/life-sustaining business activities.

Click here for the order

Any additional clarification will be updated and communicated as soon as possible. Keep checking for additional updates.

Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Production Deemed Essential/Life-Sustaining  as of March 24, 2020   4:00 pm

Based on the Governor’s list which appears to fall in line with NAICS codes, Greenhouses and Nursery Stock Growers fall into this category (page 1 of the Governor’s List):

  • 1)Natural Resources and Mining
  • a)Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
  • i)Crop Production - Greenhouses, Nursery and Floriculture Production

This category is deemed ESSENTIAL and here is that definition -

1114 Greenhouse, Nursery and Floriculture Production

This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in growing crops of any kind under cover and/or growing nursery stock and flowers. "Under cover"" is generally defined as greenhouses

111421 Nursery and Tree Production

This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in (1) growing nursery products, nursery stock, shrubbery, bulbs, fruit stock, sod, and so forth, under cover or in open fields and/or (2) growing short rotation woody trees with a growth and harvest cycle of 10 years or less for pulp or tree stock.

Includes: Azalea farming, Christmas tree growing, corms farming, field nurseries (flowers and shrubbery), flower bulb growing, fruit stock (plants, seedlings, trees), herbaceous perennials, nursery stock, nursery with tree production, preseeded mat farming, propagation material farming, rose bush, short rotation woody tree growing (grow and harvest cycle tens years or less), shrubbery, sod, tissue culture, tree crop, turf.


As a grower of nursery products and nursery stock, you are permitted to continue your operations as normal.


  Stay safe and stay healthy!!

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