In the interest of public health, municipal and private urban forest crews need to weigh how and if they continue working in these uncertain times. There is a need to decide what work should, or must, be done. Determining what is ‘essential’ can help leaders take the appropriate steps to limit employee exposure to COVID-19, while maintaining safe cities and streets. With that in mind, the industry leaders of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) came together to provide guidance on what should be deemed ‘essential’ tree work. This list should help strengthen and defend decisions surrounding crew deployments and maintenance where it is needed.
The ISA and TCIA are recommending that actions should only be carried out where they fall into three broad categories:
- The protection of infrastructure,
- Maintaining the public safety of our communities; and the
- Protection against the spread of invasive and/or injurious pests.
These categories were selected as being the most important to maintain despite the restrictions and recommendations by public health officials, as failing to do so could lead to an unwanted increase of trees in poor condition when the public returns to streets, parks or otherwise go outside again. It is up to the individual cities and companies to consider how much of the above work is appropriate for their crews.
For further information, please read the full statement from ISA and TCIA