(CMR) Premier Alden McLaughlin on Wednesday (May 6) issued a stern warning to landscaping companies to abide by physical distancing rules or he will revoke their permission to operate during the shelter-in-place period.
McLaughlin addressed the issue after it was raised by a reporter during the question segment at the daily coronavirus press conference on Tuesday.
“There is one area, which was raised yesterday during the questioning that I want to address having had further evidence of it made available to me and that is the issue relating to landscapers. The mobile landscapers that move around and do people’s yards and properties,” said McLaughlin
According to McLaughlin, he notes with concern the practice of some companies in the industry who continue to operate in the manner they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are concerns that some of the companies that are operating are packing employees into the vans in the usual way that they did before COVID-19 was an issue,” said McLaughlin.
“This is incredibly dangerous, and it is also an offense under the public health regulations. It is an offense for the employees to be that close to each other, themselves, so they commit an offense but, the employer is also guilty of an offense. Not only are you likely to get ticketed or warned for prosecution if the police observe this but, I am saying- and this is aimed principally at the companies -the landscaping companies that are operating. If we find out that is what you are doing, we will revoke your permission to operate during the shelter-in-place provision we will shut down your operations,” added McLaughlin.
McLaughlin noted that he would be taking a zero-tolerance approach to those found in breach of the physical distancing rules in the sector.
“There will be no second chances. If we get a credible report that you are breaching the law by forcing your employees to operate too closely together or to be moved around in that way, we will withdraw your permission to operate,” said the Premier.
He further used the opportunity to share that not following physical distancing guidelines put the entire community at risk.