Garden centers given exemption to sell curbside

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – With the warmer weather on the cusp, some welcome news for backyard gardeners.

The regional health unit is going to allow some latitude when it comes to garden centers.

Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis announced today (Tuesday) they are going to allow those centers, which are deemed a non-essential service, to do curbside pickup like hardware stores.

“What we’ve done is we’ve agreed that, although they’re not an essential service, we will support curbside sales only. However, there is no store entry for payments or greenhouse congregation. This is the same exemption we have for hardware stores,” he said.

“I think it’s a fair balance,” Roumeliotis said. While the EOHU is allowing it to go ahead, the exemption is being reviewed by the Ministry of Health.

As for landscapers and commercial grass cutting, Roumeliotis says it’s under review with the Premier’s Office.

Roumeliotis says what’s an essential service right now is to “manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.”

“What we interpret that is, work that needs to be done that’s not aesthetic, not cosmetic, really that has to do with maintaining safety. If there’s trees that are a potential fire hazard…obviously that’s a hazard that we’re got to get that done. Are we going to plant new flowers in our back yard now (by a contractor)? At this point, it’s cosmetic but again that’s something we’re going to be looking at,” he said.

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