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Covid-19 News



March 25, 2020


Dear MELNA members,

In response to a series of letters sent to the Commissioner of Agriculture late Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday evening I received the following response.


“Hello Don,

I’ve confirmed with the Governor’s office that horticulture is indeed intended to be included within the broad definition of agriculture in regards to the Executive Order announced today.

Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Thank you,

Amanda Beal
Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
22 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0022


So—– stay productive and stay safe.  Practice the CDC guidelines as announced!

Donald F. Sproul
Executive Director, Maine Landscape & Nursery Assn.



March 20, 2020


COVID-19 Updates

Dear Member,
Our membership is made up of a diversified group of companies that all work together and rely on each other. COVID-19 will change how we interact with each other in the immediate future as businesses are forced to deal with the realities and priorities forced on us by this pandemic. It is very unsettling not knowing what our future looks like from both a health standpoint or for our businesses. We all understand how important it is to follow the rules to keep our staff and our customers safe. As of this date, MELNA has submitted letters to state leaders requesting that greenhouse and nursery operations, as well as landscape services, be considered “essential services” and be allowed to remain open.  So far, we have been successful.  But that can change on a daily – even an hourly – basis.

MELNA is serving as your voice with legislators and the community; whether your business is a wholesale grower, nursery retailer, landscape business, supplier, service provider or more than one of these, MELNA is concerned about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on you, your employees and your business. We are in constant communication with the governor’s office, legislators and the department of agricultural resources so that your concerns are heard and understood.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry has developed a Web page at to provide you with the latest information and links to assist you with navigating this challenge. Feel free to use this information within your businesses.

In the meantime, there is no “business as usual” for any of us. It will be prudent to make your business as flexible as possible if we are going to be able to sell product or provide service to our customers. Think about things like:

  • Encourage customers to order remotely (phone, email, online ordering, etc.).
  • Utilize technology (videos, FaceTime, photos, etc. to sell virtually).
  • Set aside pick up areas.
  • Offer to deliver.
  • Form policies to protect worker health and to minimize customer contact.
  • Communicate what you are doing with your customers. Promote the outside nature of your business minimizing risk.
Please know the health of our families, employees, customers, vendors and partners remains paramount. Panic is not our friend, but rationality is. While COVID-19 is not lethal for most of the population, we must recognize the danger that it poses for vulnerable individuals. We urge every nursery, greenhouse and landscape business to implement logical, common-sense practices to reduce transmission, thereby keeping more people safe and making the public health response the most effective it can be.

Please feel free to share any of your thoughts with me as we navigate through these unsettling times. I can be reached directly at


Donald F. Sproul
Executive Director,
Maine Landscape & Nursery Association