Greenhouses, nurseries and farmers' markets declared essential during COVID-19
EDMONTON -- The Government of Alberta has deemed all agricultural businesses — including greenhouses, farmers' markets, nurseries and garden centres — "essential services" during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to horticulture business owners, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen says "supporting the viability of the industry also helps uphold the integrity of the supply chain."
The letter goes on to tell owners that "non-food" horticulture products, including ornamental plants, hardware and growing supplies, should be considered vital to the supply chain as well.
"With that [letter] we got a lot of information from the Department of Health as to what they recommend as far as rules and regulations are concerned that we should all be practicing," said Kuhlmann's Greenhouse owner Dieter Kuhlmann.
The Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association had a big part in the decision to keep greenhouses open, said Kuhlmann.
"The association has lobbied for the minister to recognize that we really do have the ability to help with the mental well-being of Albertans," said Kuhlmann.
Kuhlmann's Greenhouse Garden Market in northeast Edmonton spans over 300,000 square feet and employs over 40 people.
Kuhlmann says he feels fortunate his business has been declared an essential service, but he's anxious at the same time.
"We're not sure just how well this is all gonna work out. We will try very hard to do our part and make it as success," said Kuhlmann.
Kuhlmann's has already put in place social distancing measures for customers coming into the greenhouse.
"We're already right now telling people, 'Please, no more than two people per shopping cart. Please don't bring all your children,'" said Kuhlmann.
The garden centre is launching a feature on its website to help customers order in advance for curbside pick-up.
"So if you don't want to come into the greenhouse, we will facilitate taking it out to your car."
The pick-up feature is expected to launch on May 1.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jay Rosove.