IONIA COUNTY — After a month of state-mandated closure, local greenhouses are beginning to open their doors.

The openings follow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement on Friday, April 24, that certain low-risk industries — such as lawn care companies, golf courses and garden centers — can resume operations.

Two Seasons Greenhouse in Belding opened Friday, May 1.

“The initial order caused us to reschedule some orders and deliveries,” said co-owner Tobias Marks. “So, we stuck to our initial announcement of opening in May. There’s definitely been a lot of people who have called and been very excited that we’re able to open. I haven’t heard anybody yet saying anything about being afraid.”

Regardless, the greenhouse has added safety measures for customers and employees.

“As far as managing the pandemic, it’s pretty basic steps,” Marks said. “We’re providing cotton masks for our employees to use. We won’t be requiring any customers to bring a mask. That’s really difficult to enforce, since there are many reasons why somebody might not be able to wear one. We’re also keeping hand sanitizer available and we’ll be installing a hand-washing station that we’ll encourage people to use.”

According to Marks, the location and setup of the greenhouse works to its advantage.

“The cases in Ionia are pretty low,” he said. “And we’re outdoors, so there’s a lot of room for people to spread out. Our parking lot isn’t even big enough to crowd this place. Also, most of the issues are on the east side of the state, so it very much seems to be an east versus west issue. I’m sure our attitude would be different if we were located on the east side.”

Horrocks Garden Center in Ionia — which opened Monday, April 27 — is also taking precautions to protect visitors.

“We will have COVID-19 restrictions in the gift shop,” a Horrocks representative told The Sentinel-Standard. “But you can purchase mulch, stone and soil, as well as shop the greenhouses...we normally don’t open until the third week of April, so the virus shutdown hasn’t affected us too much.”

— Contact reporter Cassandra Lybrink at cassandranlybrink@gmail.com.