ALTO, Mich. — Landscaping companies around the state are beyond frustrated after Governor Whitmer decided against allowing them to return to work when extending her stay home order this week.
On Thursday Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended her order until April 30.
When asked about the possibility of allowing landscapers to resume work in some capacity, she said in part, “Golf, landscaping, and I’ve heard these seem to be the ones that we hear the most from the legislature, some of the Republican legislators, you know what, it’s not critical infrastructure. It’s just not. They are not necessary to sustain life.”
The Governor shot down the idea of further distinguishing which businesses could safely resume operations, saying, “Every single exception to a stay home, stay safe order makes this more porous, it makes it less likely to work.”
But landscaping business owners who spoke to FOX 17 Friday disagree with the Governor.
“I think we're smart enough as an industry that we can we can distance ourselves and just make sure that's going to be adhered to, we're willing to do that. We have to be given that opportunity," said Justin Heyboer, Owner of Wildwood Family Farms.
Heyboer operates his family farm as a landscaping business, a greenhouse and an event venue. Unfortunately the Governor's order brings all arms of his business to a halt.
“We keep going from Plan A to plan B, I think we're probably on Plan F right now, with everything going on. So we keep moving down the chain of different plans. And those plans have literally changed sometimes two or three times per week," he told FOX 17 Friday morning.
Heyboer understands the need for social distancing and certain limitations being placed on public gatherings, he just hopes the Governor can provide a more clear timeline for the state being shut down.
“Let us know that come May 1, there will be some return to work for the Michigan workers. Just something, some sense of... at least this is when it's going to be returned.”
Former State Representative Ken Yonker agrees with Heyboer's sentiments about getting the state back to work.
“I think it's an abuse of the Constitution and our Governor's using it for a power play. I'm not happy with what I'm seeing, and we're hurting our people. We're hurting our businesses, and our economy is going to really struggle for years," Yonker told FOX 17 Friday.
Yonker has been in the landscaping business for several decades. He says it is vital to their well-being that they are allowed to return to work sooner rather than later.
Saying Friday, “Landscapers are into their credit lines, because their cash flow is zero this time of year and they need to start working and producing product and selling product. And the Michigan economy needs that as well.”