TO UPDATE: On April 24, Governor Whitmer lifted the ban.
As the coronavirus is quickly becoming a new normal, Home gardening is increasing as more Americans start growing their own fruits and vegetables. But Michigan had a lot of business blocked from the sale of seeds, soil, plants and other garden items.
Last week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered All stores larger than 50,000 square feet to cordon off their garden centers and nurseries and prevent customers from shopping in these areas until April 30th. “If you’re not buying groceries, medicines, or other essential items, don’t go to the store,” Whitmer said when she announced her order.
Shutdown follows one supreme command from last month that was far interpreted by many in the industry as a ban Greenhouses, independent garden centers and tree nurseries cannot be sold to the public as part of a larger crackdown on activities that are seen as “not necessary to preserve or protect life”. (Oddly, the state’s “unnecessary” item list doesn’t include lottery tickets and liquor that stores can sell continue to sell.)
In a pool photo taken by the Michigan Governor’s Office, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, was made available … [+]
During one press conference On Monday, the governor readily admitted that her executive orders had created “confusion”. The residents were just trying to figure out why you could buy a lottery ticket and not seeds. “I recognize that there are many passionate gardeners in Michigan, and I’ve heard of many of them,” she added. “Right now, my immediate concern is to get everyone in Michigan to safety.”
No doubt Michigan is in crisis: The state exceeded 28,000 confirmed novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday, while COVID-19 killed at least 1,921 people. Like other leaders, the governor has extensive powers to act in an emergency. But these actions cannot be arbitrary and irrational. They must have a “real and substantial relationship” with protecting public health.
The Institute of Justice sent one on Wednesday letter to the governor and the state health and agriculture departments who criticize the executive orders for “Obstructing the rights of the many Michigan families trying to grow their own food during these troubled times.” The state ban on the sale of plants is an “unconstitutional ban” denying Michiganders “an important source of food and mental health.”
Simply put: “Grocery stores are allowed to sell vegetables, fruits and herbs, but kindergartens and greenhouses are not allowed to sell plants so that Michiganders can grow their plants have Vegetables, fruits and herbs make no sense. “
If anything, ordering garden centers, greenhouses and nurseries to stop retail sales could actually be counterproductive. If people can’t buy seeds and plants to grow their own fruits and vegetables, they can only get fresh produce from grocery stores and supermarkets, which would make the already packaged places even more crowded.
Significantly, Michigan’s dictation is way outside the norm. Almost all other states enable Garden centers and the like remain open, although a handful have restricted in-store sales. Given their importance to the economy, greenhouses and tree nurseries have been expressly classified as “essential companies” in such different countries Illinois and North Carolina.
Indeed, the day before Governor Whitmer announced her order, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz approved that garden centers and nurseries are “critical sectors”, a decision that reversed his earlier order of closing them. Now these companies can reopen as long as they comply with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Guidance for social distancing.
Make no mistake: Michigan’s ban on selling plants was costly, and many workers and small business owners feared for their livelihoods. According to the Michigan Farm BureauThe state’s gardening industry employs over 9,000 people and has annual sales of up to $ 700 million.
In addition, the retail sale of plants is highly seasonal. Between mid-March and Memorial Day, greenhouses and garden centers usually make money 60 to 80% of their total sales. As the owner of a greenhouse in Michigan said Crain’s Detroit business“We do all of our business in about eight weekends. Our whole year is 16 days. If the governor turns us off, it’ll pretty much destroy my business. “