Colorado executive ordinance to reduce in-person workforce Email
Monday, March 23, 2020 11:00 AM

A message from ALCC CEO John McMahon

Sunday evening, Governor Polis issued an order that requires non-critical workplaces in Colorado to reduce their in-person workforce temporarily by 50% due to the presence of COVID-19 in our state, and is requesting a reduction of more than 50% if possible. To achieve this, employees who are able to should telework, and others who cannot telework should stagger work schedules to reduce physical proximity of employees. This order does not apply to employers who can certify that employees are no closer than six feet apart during the workday, or to businesses which are critical industries. See the full order and exemptions.

Please note that this is not the magnitude of the "stay at home" ordinance that California and Illinois have instituted. The main goal of Colorado's order is to reduce in-office, in-person contact. 

Based on the list released by the Polis administration, most businesses in the green industry fall into one or more exemption categories. (See the notes below.) While it doesn’t spell out “landscaping,” it’s important that you look at your business as providing essential services. Be sure to look at the categories and find where your company's services fall. It appears that the governor purposely made this general or vague. We are not aware of any application process for clarification, but our lobbyists will work to get clarification about specifics. As an example of clarification, Illinois has specifically included lawn care services as essential despite their elevated stay-at-home order. See the bottom of page four of the Illinois "essential businesses and operations checklist" for that clarification.

While we can offer guidance, businesses that must make the determination for themselves and communicate carefully with employees and customers. Reputation management will be an important part of all this as we emerge from the crisis. A situation in Illinois caused all branches (of a non-green business) to shut down when employees walked out due to what they felt were unsafe practices. We encourage landscape companies to have their crew members take separate vehicles to the job site to practice safe distancing, and be sure to have soap, water, and hand sanitizer available for all crew members.

Compliance with CDC guidelines, the governor’s request to limit workforce, and isolation to the highest degree possible now will help limit the spread. If the spread of this virus in Colorado doesn’t slow down, it is certain that broader restrictions will be put in place.

This is a terrible illness. While some cases are mild, having a full-blown case is horrible and damaging, and as we know, it can be fatal. None of us wants to be a workplace where a customer or employee is exposed to this virus. 

We will of course continue to work closely with our partners in GreenCO to support our industry through this crisis. We will continue to monitor this fluid situation and will provide updates as they allow. Visit for resources, and follow our blog at for breaking news.

Continue to be safe everyone.

Warm regards,


John McMahon | Chief Executive Officer
Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

I believe our industries are exempt from the order, as they should be included in the following as listed in the order. While we didn’t get a specific call-out, I think we are covered.

  • food and plant cultivation, including farming crops, livestock, food processing and manufacturing, animal feed and feed products, rendering, commodity sales, and any other work critical to the operation of any component of the food supply chain
  • agriculture/farms
  • farm and produce stands
  • hardware, farm supply, and building material stores
  • establishments engaged in the retail sale of food and any other household consumer products
  • building cleaning and maintenance  

9. Construction, Including:

  • other related firms and professionals for who provide services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences

11. Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and critical Operations of Residences or Other critical Businesses, Including:

  • general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • Snow removal

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