To CTPA members:
By now, everyone knows about the corona virus and the dangers posed by COVID-19, the disease that it causes and that is spreading rapidly throughout society. On Friday, March 20, Governor Ned Lamont issued an Executive Order, effectively throwing a circuit breaker on social interaction, seeking to break the spread of this virus by curtailing all non-essential business activities. The idea behind this circuit breaker is plain. Because so much social activity and social interaction centers around business activities (think bars, restaurants, movie theaters, shopping centers), severely limiting these activities will also severely limit transmission of this disease.
We all get that. At the same time, these same businesses are the lifeblood of our financial activities and the structural foundation as to how we live – including, especially, for anyone and everyone who works for a small business. The Governor’s announcement of this order, on Friday afternoon, left it unclear the full extent as to which businesses are to be affected. For CTPA members, this includes the question as to whether tree care businesses fall under the ‘essential services’ exception or not.
The full text of the Executive Order, released subsequently by the Secretary of the State, gives some further guidance on this question. On page 3, towards the bottom, it lists, among those businesses to be considered as essential:
vendors of essential services and goods necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses, including pest control and landscaping services
A bit later on, the Executive Order also states:
Any other business may be deemed essential after requesting an opinion from DECD (Department of Economic and Community Development), which shall review and grant such request, should it determine that it is in the best interest of the state to have the workforce continue at full capacity to properly respond to this emergency.
There are two other key points from the Executive Order to mention. First, it states that the Commissioner of DECD shall issue binding guidance as to what businesses are to be considered essential by no later than 8 pm on Sunday, March 22. Second, it sets the time frame for this ban on the opening of non-essential services as running from Monday, March 23 until Wednesday, April 22.
These citations do not explicitly include tree care businesses, but they do give some solid basis for thinking that they will be included as among those considered to be essential. Regardless, the issuance of this Executive Order is difficult news for everyone, no matter what business you are in. Certainly, this is not a step that our governing leadership is taking lightly. The COVID-19 is a very serious threat that calls on all of us to bring out the best in ourselves and to do the right thing in combating this deeply contagious and currently uncontrolled disease .
The CTPA will keep in contact with state governmental leaders and will seek to keep our membership informed. Let’s hope we have good news – make that great news – in time for Earth Day and Arbor Day, two of our favorite holidays.
In the meantime, be safe and stay healthy – and seek the same for all of your loved ones, your colleagues, acquaintances, business associates, clients and fellow workers. We can do this.
Regards / the Board of the CTPA