Important Information and Resources Regarding COVID-19

PCTGA is actively monitoring the information released by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. It is our directive that PCTGA members and all Christmas tree growers comply with emergency executive orders that may impact the ability to legally, safely and responsibly operate your business in Pennsylvania and our country.

At this time, agriculture is deemed essential in Pennsylvania. Some members who also operate landscape operations are permitted to conduct business. However, all businesses should be mindful that this is a constantly evolving situation and therefore, requires you to diligently be informed and comply with local, state and national regulations related to COVID-19. If part of your business is not currently listed as essential and you are interested in seeking a waiver to do business, get more information at: https://expressforms.pa.gov/apps/pa/DCED/Waiver-process-keeping-physical-locations-open.

Our first priority is the health of our growers, families, employees, clients, contractors, partner firms and the communities served. Everyone should be abiding by the health and safety recommendations published by national and state organizations and consider them to be the minimum effort.

Growers should understand that not everyone will be comfortable being in public or at work at this uncertain time. For those whose employees continue to work, special provisions should be set in place to accommodate social distancing protocols and special needs during this time.

The following are some resources that may be helpful.

An overview of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

Decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact at the workplace. This link from the CDC provides important and helpful information.

Changes to Pesticide Licensing Programs due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The PA Chamber of Commerce offers some suggestions on coping and maintaining mental well-being during this stressful time.

If your employees are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work, they may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation benefits.

The federal CARES Act will provide unemployment benefits to the self-employed, gig workers (independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers and temporary workers), and other individuals who previously were not eligible for unemployment. Special instructions will be provided to these individuals. At this time, you should NOT file a claim through the existing online system or phone number if you are not currently eligible for unemployment. Click here for more information.

For growers who utilize H-2A workers, the USDA has been working to limit disruption. More information can be found at www.farmers.gov/manage/h2a. Please note, it is recommended to follow information from specific embassies in affected countries.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering designated states low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Click here to read the blog post by Andrew Bosserman, tax columnist for the Christmas Trees Magazine, about how the coronavirus stimulus law affects Christmas tree growers.