Covid 19 continues to affect us all. After a summer of relatively low case counts, the “second wave” is upon us. Many factors are contributing to this rise, but the end result is that we’re now undergoing new lockdowns and elevated protocols to prevent further spread of the virus. As an essential service, MPS will continue to provide critical snow and ice management services which keep our client properties accessible and safe. In order to do that, we need to ensure that our own operations are as safe as possible.
Here are some of the steps we’ve taken to ensure as seamless a service as possible this season:
Updated and ongoing Covid training for all staff
Moving our dispatch operations out of our main building to allow appropriate spacing and physical barriers, while limiting direct contact
Limiting crews to one person per vehicle where possible; installing plexiglass dividers where it’s not
Ensuring ample supplies of PPE, masks and sanitizers for all staff
Daily Covid symptom screening
Pre-established process maps to properly identify and address potential exposures or symptoms, thereby minimizing any impact on our operations
Continued awareness and compliance with recommendations from local, provincial and federal health authorities.
These are challenging times, but by working together, we will defeat this virus and return to more normal lifestyles. In the meantime, stay safe and take care of each other!
The MPS Team
Updated May 1st, 2020- Happy Friday,
After 6 long weeks of battling Covid19, we are starting to see some positive outcomes from our efforts. While infections and deaths have been extensive, (particularly in our most vulnerable facilities), the sacrifices we’ve all made have had the effect of greatly reducing the potential infection and death rates from initial “worst-case” scenarios. And while this battle continues, it is now moving into a new phase. Many businesses and industries are being allowed to re-open, albeit under strict protocols, and we are starting the process of re-opening our economy. We are very excited to note that Landscaping is named as one of these businesses, and starting May 4, we will be able to provide all of our services, including Landscape Construction!
Snow Removal and Grounds Maintenance were both initially named as an essential services. As such we’ve had the responsibility and “luxury” of producing a limited amount of field work using new COVID19 protocols over the past few weeks. The MPS Standards we are operating under are actually more stringent than the protocols outlined yesterday by the Provincial Government. For example, all crews have been extensively trained in COVID protocols, PPE’s have been tailored to our needs, info-posters have been displayed. However, we’ve gone even further. We’ve altered our entire “morning startup process” to be completely outdoors, adjusted our “safety huddles” and training systems to accommodate smaller groups, and we’ve equipped our trucks with plexi-glass barriers to separate occupants when it’s not possible to have each employee drive separately. We recently conducted an internal survey, and our staff are very comfortable with the training and safety protocols that are in place. Of course, we will make new accommodations anytime our health authorities recommend them.
Until a vaccine is developed, our new “normal” will consist of accommodations for COVID. Field operations will be modified, and sales and administration activities will be equally affected. We have been able to continue our sales and design functions remotely, and have been pleasantly surprised at both how this has been received, and at the volume of sales. Early indicators are that there is surprising confidence in our economy. I know we all hope this trend will continue going forward-our landscape construction team is excited to “dig in” and produce beautiful landscapes, and our maintenance team is working hard to keep them beautiful. As always, please reach out if you have any questions.
Jim Monk President CSP,
Updated April 8th, 2020 –
Dear customers and partners,
Our battle with COVID19 continues, and the entire country (and world) is working hard to ensure we win this! Some of the statistics are indicating that we are making progress, but there is clearly more work to do. I am still entirely confident that we will ultimately get this under control and begin to return to what will be our “new normal”!
MPS has supported this battle since day one, and will continue to do so. We have diligently followed recommendations from WHO, CDC and local, provincial and national authorities when making our decisions.
The provincial government has recently issued a revised list of essential services, and again, MPS falls into a grey area. While landscape construction, and property enhancements for cosmetic purposes are clearly not essential, there is no clear directive as to whether grounds maintenance is essential. There are many differing opinions on this issue, and municipalities are not consistent in banning or allowing this service. My belief is that grounds maintenance is an essential service, for the following reasons:
during spring cleanups, there are many hazards and sanitation issues to address. These include trash and litter, but also potentially hazardous materials such as syringes, personal hygiene material, broken glass, animal carcasses etc.
regular grass cutting and garden maintenance, if left undone for too long, will lead to noxious weed and vermin infestations, also a safety hazard
a building (or city, or country) that is not maintained will lead to other unintended consequences such as vandalism, illegal dumping, and a general decline in morale.
Having said that, MPS will continue to prepare for the upcoming season, but will provide only limited (if any) field work before April. 20. While this may seem late, we have actually had late snowstorms each of the past 2 winters, and were not able to begin cleanups until the last week or two April. Moving our start date to April 20 will still leave us with enough time to complete cleanups before grass cutting begins the first week of May. We believe that waiting a little longer will not affect our service levels, but will allow us to help “flatten the curve” and support our health workers.
Here is how MPS is preparing to begin field work:
We are developing strict protocols that meet or exceed current health standards, in order to keep our staff, customers and general public safe from viral transmission. These protocols include extensive COVID training; physical barriers in trucks where more than the driver is required; personal PPE’s and cleaning agents for all crew-members; morning start up organized so crews are not required to enter the building and staggered start times to prevent clusters of people.
Our mechanical team is busy servicing our fleet and equipment to ensure everything is available when needed.
Office staff continues to work from home, or practice social distancing and high levels of hygiene if at the office. Our teams are continuing to schedule work, produce COVID related training for our staff, and to continue quoting, selling and organizing work for the upcoming season. Our sales team is available to meet remotely, as well as estimate work and create designs. We are pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest people have in maintaining and improving their properties despite the current crisis!
At MPS, we continue to be excited for the upcoming season, even as we work to be effective in this new environment. There is no doubt that it will be some time before things return to normal, but we will continue to provide the finest service possible while still protecting the interests of our staff, customers and especially front-line health care workers!
Jim Monk President CSP,
March 26th, 2020 –
Dear Customers and Partners,
We are all experiencing unprecedented times in our battle with Covid-19. Though we don’t know the outcome, we believe that by working together, we will get through this, and that life will eventually return to normal. At MPS, we are committing to the health crisis effort, while also preparing for what will come afterwards.
Here is how MPS is doing that:
Provincial legislation has deemed Snow and Ice Management to be an essential service. Although current weather makes it feel as though winter is over, we had a snow event on Monday, and have had plowable snow amounts mid-April in two of the past three years. We will remain vigilant, and our mechanical team will be continuing to service, maintain and repair our fleet. If we have snow events, we will handle them with all team members following all appropriate health protocols.
Office functions to support these efforts will continue. All administration team members that can work remotely will continue to do so, and team members in the office will follow recommended hygiene and distancing protocols. The office will be closed to the public.
Although aspects of the landscape industry can be argued to be essential, we will honour the intent of the shutdown. We will hold off with all landscape services until such time as health officials deem it appropriate.
We are continuing to prepare for the upcoming summer season. Although things are in virtual shutdown right now, this will all come to an end; and plant, tree and grass growth will take off as it does every spring! We are doing everything we can to be organized for when that happens. Among other administrative functions, our sales teams are busy organizing summer workloads. We can communicate via text, e-mail, phone and video call, and can still measure properties, create designs, and provide solutions to outdoor challenges. If you have any landscape construction or maintenance needs, this is a great time to get organized for the restart!
We are always excited about the rejuvenation that spring represents. This year that will be infinitely more true! Our team knows how healthy it is to work outdoors and can’t wait to get started. We love what we do every day and look forward to helping you get the most out of your outdoor spaces this season!