April 1, 2020

Good Afternoon MNLGA Members:

This e-mail is distributed to key contacts; please feel free to share with others in your office.

Update on what is going on in New York – the Governor issued a revised declaration last night:  “ At this time, horticulture is designated as a non-essential business (with the exception of nurseries/greenhouses selling food producing plants.) ” Likewise, in Massachusetts – nurseries, greenhouses, and garden centers are deemed essential as long a product mix includes good producing plants/seeds. 

What these statements should maybe suggest to you is, although there is no guarantee as to what will happen in MD, to consider your product line and business essential – does what you sell and produce include food producing plants and/or seeds?

Economic Assistance Programs : (CARES and EIDL)
The CARES Act goes into effect today. We posted resources on the MNGLA website to help navigate that program. Essential links:

CARES Act Resource Guide   (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed by Congress intended to assist business owners through various programs and initiatives. This includes the  Paycheck Protection Program  - start reading on page 2 of the resource guide for more information.) 
  • Paycheck Protection Program Overview Information 
  • Paycheck Protection Program Application you may review this app and fill it out but needs to be submitted to SBA lender; banks may start to receive these forms on April 3 and the app may be modified by then (nothing is certain these days!)
  • The SBA and the Treasury Department have indicated the following dates for application submission:
  • Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply
  • Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply
  • To help prepare for the application, it is recommended that business owners begin to gather the following information and documents:
  • 2019 IRS Quarterly 940, 941 or 944 payroll tax reports
  • Last 12 months of Payroll Reports beginning with your last payroll date and going backwards 12 months (e.g. gross wages for each employee, paid time off for each employee, vacation pay for each employee)
  • 1099s for 2019 for independent contractors that would otherwise be an employee of your business
  • Documentation showing total of all health insurance premiums paid by the Company Owner under a group health plan
  • Document the sum of all retirement plan funding that was paid by the Company Owner (do not include funding that came from the employee’s out of their paycheck deferrals)

An alternative to the Paycheck Protection Program offered under the CARES Act is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) , offered directly through the Small Business Administration. Use our easy-to-follow guide, “ What is an Economic Injury Disaster Loan? ” to learn more and how to apply. (this info borrowed from M & T Bank, but most every bank has its own summary docs; you may want to check with your own banker directly)

Social Media Graphics:
Additional social media graphics have also been posted to the MNLGA COVID-19 resources page. Use the graphics as you see fit. You will need to personalize them to include your own center’s information and I would urge you to indicate how you are conducting business right now – i.e. phone and online orders with delivery, when you include your business information.  You will find these graphics under the “Business to Consumer Outreach Resources ” section of the COVID-19 resources page.  I’ve also had posted the “Embrace Your Space” campaign offered by my peer in Texas. You are free and welcome to use that information, as well.

Webinar Offerings :
We are also being offered many opportunities to participate in webinars. Links to recorded AmericanHort webinars are on the MNLGA’s COVIC-19 resources page.

Here’s a new webinar opportunity presented by my peer group of execs across the country and underwritten by Landscape Ontario. “Choose to Grow Forward” – Green Industry business coaches share their wisdom and practical advice on how to deal with COVID-19. Panelists include Jeffrey Scott, Jim Paluch, Mark Bradley, and Phil Harwood. Moderated by Jacki Hart.  Link here for more details and to register . There is no fee to participate.

Keep checking the MNLGA website for many COVID-19 resources; Chelsea updates often.

Also, I'm reiterating that last week the MNLGA board paused all membership dues until April 1 of next year. As well, non-members are invited to join with a complimentary membership through the end of 2020. The purpose of this is to enable us to get information out to as many businesses as possible, as efficiently as possible. Pass the word to your non-member colleagues. Prospective members go to www.mnlga.org , click the "join here" button and select membership type 2020-Comp. Easy to do!

Blood banks across the area are in need. If you are able to give blood, please consider visiting the Red Cross. I think it would be wise to make an appointment rather than arrive unexpectedly.  Visit Greater Chesapeake Region Red Cross to find a donation center near you.

Please keep me informed of what is going on with your business. If I know what is going on, I may be a better resource to you and to other members as we navigate together this uncharted territory. Feel free to email me at Vanessa @mnlga.org .

Vanessa A. Finney
Executive Director, MNLGA