KENMORE, NY (WKBW) — “We can do clean up work and grass cutting, that’s about it,” declared Mark Caligiuri, landscaper & owner, MAC Services.
Landscaping is one of those essential business during the pandemic, but not for everything.
The New York State Agriculture & Markets Department issued new orders Tuesday about limitations for work conducted outside your home.
Landscapers are not allowed to begin new landscape projects. This means no new soil, mulch or plantings. That type of work is now considered non-essential, a change from earlier guidance issued March 24th.
“Some clients that are not understanding why we can't come, you know and do some stuff like mulching and all that, trying to explain it —we can’t,” Caligiuri described.
This regulation has nearly shuttered Caligirui’s entire business. He says most of his income comes from landscaping.
Late last week, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz delivered a stern warning to landscapers to stop new work work immediately or they will be shut down.
“No new work, which means you can't put new mulch down, you can't do new plantings, and if you continue to do this you're going to find yourself in the same place the bars and restaurants did,” Poloncarz warned.
“We’ve had a lot of people reaching to us,” stated Lori Brockelbank, president, New York State Arborists.
Brockelbank says the rule is the same for tree cutting.
“They can go in and do your maintenance repair, such as remove dead trees, also prune trees for maintenance. You know, if you have dead wood in your trees, they they can remove that,” explained Brockelbank.
Horticulture business is also non-essential, with the exception of nurseries or greenhouses growing food to sell in the time of COVID-19.
“You an even get the products. You can't get mulch or soil because they closed them down. You can order a plant if you want a plant, but you’re not allowed to do that so, that's basically the majority of what I do,” Caligiuri remarked.
Caligiuri says he's been forced to layoff some employees. For now he's only allowed to cut lawns and do spring clean up, but that’s it.
“If it goes past May, it’s going be a problem. I can't wait to get through this, hopefully everybody stays safe and we can get through this nightmare,” Caligiuri reflected