June 20th reopening and Covid protocol!

At last, we have landed on a reopening date, which will be on Saturday, June 20th, the first day of summer! Yay. We will also plan to be open Saturdays through at least early August. Later I’ll work out a schedule for late summer and fall. We can also be available by appointment during the week. Just shoot us an e-mail at mail@desertnorthwest.com and let us know if you need to schedule an appointment!

So what’s available, you’re wondering? As of June 17th, I have finished a current plant inventory with prices, which is now posted on the web site. Thus far it is just a list with no descriptions or photos, unfortunately; but for now we hope that an up-to-date list of everything we have available will help motivate at least keen gardeners with some plant knowledge to come out here and shop. You may also notice that mail-order will be restarting in mid-July. We’ll talk more about featured plants in the next update.

And now to talk Covid protocol. We are not oblivious to the fact that Coronavirus is still looming out there, and even if things are now opening up, we sure as heck don’t want to catch it and we don’t expect you do either. In my case I’m not only concerned about spreading the disease, but if I fall sick for two or three weeks the nursery can quickly fall apart. So we’re putting into place the following precautions:

#1 If you’re sick, don’t come! That should be obvious. Please wait until you are completely all better, and then come.

#2 Masks. We have decided not to make a big deal out of masks, especially since we ourselves are unlikely to wear them especially in hot weather. Visitors may wear masks, or not. I think the main point is just to be aware and considerate, and don’t breathe on people or their stuff. If you are uncomfortable with non-mask-wearing, we respect your choice to delay your visit, and mail-order will be available soon!

#3 Distancing. I don’t know why they call it “social distancing;” it should be just “distancing.” I can still practice distancing while being anti-social, and you could say it is easier. In any case we ask that you respect other people’s space, and ours, as much as possible, keeping at least six feet away or better yet ten feet. We don’t anticipate this to be a huge problem as there is plenty of space here at the nursery, and usually not a lot of people come through at once.

#4 Touchless sales. We’ll ask that you pick out your own plants. Most people do this anyway. But we hope you will make an effort not to handle plants you have not decided to purchase. We know this isn’t always realistic but let’s give it our best shot. If you’re trying to pick through a group of plants to select the best one, we will not pull them all out for you too look at. We will also not look at photos on your phone of a space you want to work with, or a plant you want to identify, or that sort of thing. We’re not hostile, only taking precautions.

#5 Carrying plants. Boxes will be available for you to put plants in. But for the present, we will not help you pack the plants into boxes as has been our custom. There should be no need to use a cart or wagon. If you purchase a lot of plants and don’t want to carry them all, you can just back your vehicle right up almost to the sales table, and load up.

#6 Labeling plants. In normal times, we typically label plants as they go out. If you don’t need labels, that’s fine and makes things easier. If you do that’s just fine also. We will have a box of disposable gloves and I will put on a new pair to write your plant labels while transacting with each customer.

#7 Transactions. I believe I have thought through how to do this very safely–much more safely than, say, Safeway (is that ironic or what?). We will have a box that you can drop your cash or check into without touching it. We think that payment by check is the most preferable at this time, followed by cash, with credit card being the least preferred option (but can still do it if necessary). My reasoning is that a check may be written out in the exact change with tax, whereas it can be difficult to predict in advance the exact amount with cash (unless you want to bring a lot of different types of bills). But if you want to do cash I can supply you with change while wearing disposable gloves. This also applies if you want a receipt, which we usually try to provide especially for large purchases–but if you don’t need one, that’s fine and makes things easier. For credit cards, we can process them by manually inserting the number, but will not swipe them. You could either read the number aloud (might not want to do that with other customers present), or set it down on a table and I could read it off, then let you pick it up and read off the security code.

That sounds like a lot of information, but we are all used to this sort of thing now, and I don’t really expect it to be that difficult. I am confident that our customers are the kind of people who excel and being mindful and considerate. I’ll look forward to seeing you this summer!

Ian

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