Staying Well During COVID-19: Importance of Wearing a Face Covering for Landscape Maintenance Personnel, Growers, and Pest Management Professionals
Over the past several months, we have learned more about the COVID-19 virus and how it is spread. According to the CDC, people can transmit the virus to others even if they have no symptoms or before they develop symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. To slow the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings over your mouth and nose. It is commonplace to not be allowed into grocery stores, shopping centers, pharmacies, and other venues without wearing a face covering. Along with hand washing and staying home when you are sick, wearing a face covering is an important way to help slow the spread of COVID-19 on the job and out and about in the community.
Landscapers and those working outside to plant ornamentals, trim hedges, collect lawn waste, and/or apply pest management treatments must take precautions to avoid being exposed to COVID-19. They must reduce exposure to COVID-19 and quickly get tested for COVID-19 if symptoms develop or if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Wearing a face covering over your mouth and nose when riding in a vehicle with co-workers and, working or gathering with others is an important way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, “Field crews must understand and be sensitive to the public’s concern about COVID-19 transmission” and they support the CDC recommendation of wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. https://blog.landscapeprofessionals.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-19-Operational-Guidelines-April-8-2020-PDF.pdf
What is a face covering?
A cloth face covering, that is worn over the mouth and nose, is used to protect against COVID-19. Face coverings should fit snuggly yet be comfortable when secured in place with ear loops. Many choose to wear a cloth bandana or a Survivor (reality TV show), type of buff. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Face coverings can be purchased, made, or sewn at home using common cloth fabrics that can be low cost. Face coverings should be made of materials that are durable enough to allow for and withstand routine machine washing and drying.
Face coverings should fit well and allow a person to breathe with ease. For those people that have difficulty breathing when wearing a face covering, they should follow the advice of their health care provider.
Who should not wear a cloth face covering?
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Where can I purchase a face covering?
There are several options and outlets for purchasing face coverings either locally or online. Many individuals and groups are producing face coverings for sale, as fundraisers and/or for public health donations. You can purchase locally made masks from Made In Broward, a non-profit in Fort Lauderdale that partners with Broward County 4-H to support young people in practical, hands-on skill building.
How can I make a face covering?
Check out this simple and easy, no-sew video on how to make a face covering.
More information in English, Spanish, and Creole
Stay well and protect others while on the job. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, cloth face coverings are recommended.
For further information:
1. UF/IFAS Extension, Broward County, Family and Consumer Sciences website –
2. UF/IFAS Extension, Broward County, Family and Consumer Sciences blogs –http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/browardco/2020/06/05/broward-landscape-maintenance-personnel-growers-and-pest-management-professionals-staying-healthy-during-covid-19-symptoms-and-testing-sites/
3. UF/IFAS Extension, Broward County, Family and Consumer Sciences YouTube-
4. UF/IFAS Extension, Broward County, Commercial Horticulture website- http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/broward/commercial-horticulture-program-/
5. Florida Department of Health – http://floridahealth.gov
6. Florida Department of Health Resource Toolkit- https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/resources/#toolkit
7. CDC/Coronavirus- https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
8. Ag Workers & Employers; Interim Guidance from CDC and the U.S. Department of Labor – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-agricultural-workers.html
9. Southeastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety- http://www.sccahs.org/index.php/covid-19/