Despite Michigan governor’s stance, some leaders say they won’t try to stop landscapers from working

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts among loudest voices in fight

The TCF Center will have the room for about 1,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, but Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan anticipates about 250 patients will be placed there.

WARREN, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is standing by her decision not to name landscaping businesses essential during the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown, but some Metro Detroit leaders are coming out to say they won’t try to stop lawn care services from working.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has been one of the loudest voices in the fight.

A law with short teeth has very little bit, and in the seemingly long list of battles over what is an essential business and what isn’t, landscaping has risen to the forefront.

Leaders from various cities throughout Metro Detroit are saying when it comes to grass cutting and lawn management, it’s essential that companies are allowed to work.

Fouts pointed to an email with Whitmer, during which he asked for clarification on the landscaping issue.

Her response, in part, was, “Except if the service is necessary to maintain and improve safety, sanitation and essential operations of a residents.”

Sprinkled throughout Facebook, officials are saying they won’t ticket landscaping companies because they fall under the essential category of general health and welfare.

“When it gets tall, you have mice, rats,” Fouts said.

Some landscaping companies have tried to put together a “best practices” list for the industry during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Fouts said this isn’t about landscaping beautification, flower planting or improving curb appeal. He said when it comes to cutting grass, treating lawns for insects and vermin and basic grass management, he and other leaders consider landscaping essential.

The question now is whether Whitmer will issue a public clarification to allow landscaping and lawn companies in the coming days as the grass continues to grow.


About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's married and the stepmother of three beautiful and brilliant daughters. Her personal philosophy in life, love and community is, "Do as much as you can possibly do, not as little as you can possibly get away with".

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.