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Introduction & Basic Information


As New York State, municipalities and businesses start to consider reopening, greenhouse operations, retail greenhouses and landscape operations need to create plans to fulfill the requirements of safe operation to protect themselves, their employees and their customers.  

This document provides some suggestions for recommended practices and strategies to protect your workers and customers. We know that NYS has a wide variety of sizes and types of ornamental greenhouse, nursery, garden center and landscape operations so not all practices listed here have to be tailored to each operation. We hope you can find helpful practices here to allow you to continue operations while staying safe.

These Best Management Practices (BMPs) are based on the New York Forward process and its requirements for reopening of businesses.  For more information on how regions reopen and the phases of reopening, please see: NY Forward Plan

As part of this process:

Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business. They must also read, and affirm that they have read, the appropriate guidance documents (Agriculture and Retail).

In developing these plans, businesses will need to consider three main factors:

  • protections for employees and customers.
  • changes to the physical workspace
  • implementing processes that meet changing public health obligations

Interior of a greenhouse, showing red geraniums in hanging baskets, and plants with green and purple foliage on the tables below.

Basic Information on the SARS-CoV-2 Virus and COVID-19  

  • Effects of the virus range from no observable symptoms to severe symptoms and everyone is at risk of contracting COVID -19
    • Symptoms include: loss of taste or smell, sore throat, headache, fever, chills, muscle pain, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, or diarrhea?
  • It is primarily transmitted person-to-person through respiratory droplets that are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, even if they show no symptoms.
  • Droplets can also be deposited on surfaces and transferred by touching the nose, eyes or mouth after touching those surfaces
  • The virus can persist on some types of surfaces for 24-72 hours (van Doremalen et al, 2020), although it is unstable outside of the host.
  • The CDC has determined that staying 6 feet apart reduces the risk of person-to-person transmission.
  • There is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted on plants or plant products
  • The best methods of preventing infection are to distance yourself from others, wear a protective face covering that covers your nose and mouth, avoid touching your face, wash or sanitize your hands, and sanitize frequently touched surfaces.
    • Hand washing – soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • Hand sanitizer – at least 60% alcohol or 70% isopropanol
  • Resources