Understanding the Executive Order re. Lawn Maintenance

During our rapidly changing COVID-19 environment, it can be hard to keep up with the latest updates to Governor Whitmer's Executive Orders. One topic many residents have asked about pertains to lawn maintenance. Please refer to the information below for answers to commonly asked questions:

Q.Is it ok to mow my own lawn?
A. Yes. The order does not prohibit you from mowing or performing other landscape maintenance for your own property.

Q: May landscaping, lawncare, tree service, irrigation, and related outdoor maintenance companies operate under this order?
A: In nearly all cases, no. A business cannot designate workers to perform these services unless the service is necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of a residence. This is a narrow exception that only permits in-person work that is strictly necessary to address a circumstance that immediately and genuinely impairs the habitability of a home during the emergency; the exception will be satisfied, at most, rarely. Routine concerns, such as about longer grass increasing insects, pests, or allergies, do not qualify. Nor can workers leave the home to perform these services at business facilities: the exception applies only to residences. Any necessary in-person work that is permitted under the order must be done in accordance with the mitigation measures required under section 10 of the order. The order does not prohibit homeowners from tending to their own yards as they see fit.

Q. Will the City issue citations for violations to the grass and weed ordinance?
A. No, the City will not issue Noxious Weed ordinance citations until the 'Stay Home Stay Safe' order is lifted and landscaping crews are permitted to work.

Q. Why are other communities allowing landscaping companies to work?
A. The City of Birmingham is committed to complying with the Governor's Executive Orders, which prohibit lawn service companies from operating. There is no question the impacts and effects of these orders have complicated our lives in so many ways, but without a change to the order or further gubernatorial guidance, the City lacks the authority to overturn this order.  

Q.Is it ok for municipal crews to mow public areas such as parks and golf courses?
A. Yes. Minimum maintenance activities are permitted on City property. While golf courses are not able to open for golf at this time, Executive Order 2020-42 states “golf courses may designate workers whose in-person presence is strictly necessary to conduct minimum basic operations". Local golf courses are currently running basic minimum maintenance operations to protect the asset inventory of golf course properties, based on the current Executive Order. Conducting minimum operations at each golf course is vital to preserve and protect the community’s asset of both golf courses. Further, the order states, "For purposes of this order, necessary government activities also include... the maintenance of safe and sanitary public parks so as to allow for outdoor activity."

Learn more by viewing the entire Executive Order 2020-42 and Executive Order 2020-42 FAQs . Find the latest information and resources pertaining to COVID-19 on the City's website at www.bhamgov.org/virusprevention .