April 15, 2020

Dear MNLGA Members:

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

Attention new members: I send new updates every day and really do not repeat a lot of the same information. Chelsea has added to the MNLGA’s COVID-19 resources page the COVID-19 based member alerts since we began issuing them on March 16 th . Please review them if you are hunting for older information.

In the Governor’s press conference today , he mandated that anyone shopping or working in a retail environment must wear a facemask beginning this Saturday, April 18 th at 7 a.m. In addition, he mandated that any retail environment have in place a clear method for maintaining social distance of customers and employees. As well, anyone utilizing public transportation must wear a facemask beginning this Saturday.  Here is a link to the CDC page with instructions on how to make (sew and no-sew options) face coverings.

I’ve come across a business planning tool that may help some of you who have not yet applied for COVID-related business and employment relief. The tool is called the Relief Program Eligibility Wizard and helps businesses identify their potential eligibility for state and federal relief resources. More details about this tool may be found here , in a BBJ article. 

Another resource from the U of MD Ag Law Initiative/UME Extension – a long list of short videos – including Farm Worker Safety, Paycheck Protection Program, Surviving the Bounce, Paid Sick Leave, Farm Continuity Business Plan, Preparing the Farm, etc.  Find these videos here

As mentioned early last week, my peer group, NLAE, compiled a U.S/Canada map on which COVID-19 mandates may be found by state/province . Each state/province, will have whether or not the “Big 4” – Nursery, Greenhouse, Garden Centers, Landscape – are “open,” “closed,” or “restricted” and then links to the authoritative documentation are provided. Access that map here .

Member Feedback:
Garden Center: We are literally answering non-stop phone calls and emails from open to close. We even set up a service to catch all calls missed while the lines are busy. We usually stay late trying to return those calls. Despite all this effort, sales since the 'stay at home' order are down 51%. March sales were nearly record breaking. While we are selling veggie, fruit, and berry plants, we are selling far more mulch, evergreens, and other items. We just fulfill the customers’ requests. It feels more like an Amazon fulfillment center than a Garden Center. Hanging in there…

Webinars :
AmericanHort – No Contact Sales: A Discussion with Garden Center Retailers

AmericanHort – Updates to the SBA Paycheck Protection Program Application Process

NLAE – Choose to Grow Forward panel

Remember to utilize the COVID-19 resources page on the MNLGA website . It includes resources to help connect with consumers, explanations and access to state and federal recovery, employment, and relief efforts, and more.

Please keep me in the loop and let me know how the MNLGA can help you.

Vanessa A. Finney
Executive Director, MNLGA