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Greenhouses are now able to open back up to the public

Under Governor Whitmer's most recent extension to the stay-at-home order, greenhouses are allowed to open up to the public as early as Friday
Posted at 3:07 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 21:58:58-04

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Under Governor Whitmer's most recent extension to her stay-at-home order greenhouses are allowed to open back up to the public.

Governor Whitmer announced in a press conference Friday afternoon that she had extended her stay-at-home order through May 15, while relaxing some restrictions on businesses so they are able to re-open.

FOX 17 spoke to Dale Buist, owner of Countryside Greenhouse in Allendale, Friday to hear his reaction.

“For the industry standpoint, not just me, but the entire industry, we’re all greatly relieved to know we’re going to be allowed to sell our products. This is fantastic news for us,” Buist said. “We take this privilege to be able to open and sell our plants very serious and we will conduct ourselves in the safest possible manner to ensure people's safety in coming into this greenhouse environment.”

Buist says that Countryside traditionally can see about 40 percent of their sales in the month of May alone.

“So people come out, get what they need for now, get your vegetable gardens growing, maybe buy a patio planter, a hanging basket to bring some life to your porch. But take your time. It's not going anywhere quick," Buist said Friday.

Countryside has 16 acres of Greenhouse space, much of it packed with plants ready to sell.

While Buist is beyond excited that they will be able to open their doors back up, he says they will be implementing a long list of safety precautions once they do.

“We’re celebrating the opportunity to function in a bad environment. We know COVID-19 is still there. We’re very much aware of it. We’re going to do everything we can as an industry to keep people safe,” Buist said.

Floors will be marked near check-out lines to encourage social distancing, hand sanitizer will be available throughout the store, sneeze guards have been hung near the registers and displays inside the aisles have been removed to cut down congestion. Countryside will also have a dedicated staff member who will be focused entirely on disinfecting check-out lanes and credit card scanners.

Safety for staff and customers is a sentiment shared by Rick Vuyst over at Flowerland as well.

“We have been preparing while closed. We have masks for our employees. We agree that it's important that greenhouses, garden centers provide a safe environment," Vuyst told FOX 17 Friday.

Vuyst is excited that people will finally have access to plants and their natural benefits.

“I think it will help the community heal. Also, I know folks who visit green house and garden centers, they will practice safe spacing, they will be considerate of others," Vuyst said.

It's relieving news that came at just the right time for the greenhouse industry.

"You know, we started out the season just great. Everyone was excited and it's going to be a great year and we were shooting for the moon. And it's like in an instant, everything changed from shoot for the moon to survival mode," Vuyst said.

Countryside Greenhouse plans to re-open it's doors to the public Monday morning at 8:00am.

Flowerland opened up it's Kentwood and Alpine locations Friday afternoon.