PEI

P.E.I. updates which lawn-care services deemed essential during COVID-19

Spring cleanup of branches, leaves and debris have now been added to the list of lawn-care services deemed essential by the P.E.I. government during COVID-19 restrictions. 

'There's still more work to be done'

Spring is normally an extremely busy time for lawn-care companies. (Submitted by Matt Llewellyn )

Spring cleanup of branches, leaves and debris have now been added to the list of lawn-care services deemed essential by the P.E.I. government during COVID-19 restrictions. 

Until this week, only mowing and seeding for new builds were considered essential lawn-care services. However, according to officials with the province, those directives were updated over the weekend. 

The province added however, that landscaping activities like putting in new flower beds and walkways on established properties are still not considered essential. 

Jim Landry, who is the executive director of Landscape P.E.I. said the changes are welcome news as it's too early to begin seeding and mowing lawns. 

"This is the time of year that people who work in this profession start and what they start with generally is cleanup," he said.

Jim Landry, executive director of Landscape PEI, says most companies feel they can still do the work and abide by physical distancing rules. (Submitted by Jim Landry)

Landry said he's reached out to local MLAs and officials with the province to help figure out what lawn-care services could be deemed essential as the province begins plans to ease its restrictions.

"A lot of these decisions are difficult to make. I would love to consult with government, to help them decide what it is that our profession could and should be doing."

Matt Llewellyn, who owns Cutting Edge Property Care says the updated directives are "a step in the right direction, 100 per cent." 

While Llewellyn said he's committed to ensuring the health guidelines are adhered to, he agreed with Landry, in the need for operators to work more closely with the province on outlining the guidelines.

"If we're allowed to rake your lawn then why can't I aerate the lawn, fertilize the lawn, different things like that. It doesn't seem to make sense why we're limited on that side of things." 

Matthew Lewellyn, owner of Cutting Edge Property Care, says he was planning on limiting the number of employees working on each job site. (Submitted by Matthew Llewellyn)

For now, his crews have been split up so that there is one person per truck to ensure the physical distancing measures are followed.

Darryl Marin, owner of Mel's Gardening Inc. said even as the changes offer hope, spring cleanup only lasts for about two weeks. 

The money his company generates from spring cleanup work only represents between 15 and 20 per cent of its annual revenue, he said.

"It's a little concerning." 

Darryl Martin, owner of Mel's Gardening, Inc., says he was already planning to take measures to keep his employees and clients safe. (Submitted by Darryl Martin)

It's not just lawn-care operators and workers who are a little unclear over the province's guidelines. Llewellyn said he's getting similar feedback from customers as well.

"We're talking about the outdoors, where we can be much farther than six feet apart," he said. 

While "there's still more work to be done," Llewellyn said his company will certainly be following the guidelines which have been set and "at the end of the day it's up to public health and Dr. Morrison." 

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 news from CBC P.E.I.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Juric

Reporter

Sam Juric is a reporter with CBC Sudbury and can be reached at sam.juric@cbc.ca.

With files from Donna Allen

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