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How to stay in operation during this corona crisis

The virus has a big impact on horticulture. Like in society a few ill persons aren’t the problem. But if many of your employees become ill at the same time, continuity is under threat. 

On this page you’ll find an update of recent advice based on the information presented by relevant parties like sector representative Glastuinbouw Nederland, Dutch research institute WUR, Dutch health advisors Stigas, and official authorities in The Netherlands like RIVM and government

Our greenhouse horticulture policy provides coverage for sudden and unforeseen physical damage to your property and the loss of income as a result of the damaged property. Hence the loss of revenue due to the corona virus and all hygiene measures to prevent contamination and spread are not covered under our policy.

Many governments have announced that they will provide maximum assistance to companies where possible. We hope that the package of assistance measures will provide you with sufficient support in these difficult times.

Please help us to improve this advice

Any suggestions and improvements to increase the quality of the advice below is welcome. Use the link to let us know. This way you help your colleagues to be prepared for this virus.

What can you do:

  • Make agreements on who is allowed to enter your company.
  • Make agreements on how to behave, the do’s and don’ts at your nursery.
  • Prepare an emergency plan.


  1. Be very critical to who is allowed to enter the nursery or offices, like employees, suppliers (repairs, maintenance) and visitors, and check them for symptoms:
    • Check for fever (in case of doubt: check with an IR thermometer), coughing or a cold.
    • Have they been in a risk area, or in contact with large groups?
    • Have they been in contact with a virus affected person?

       Have a checklist for this ready at the entrance.

2. Does anyone show symptoms of corona? Then send them home.
3. Employees, suppliers and visitors can act pro-active in their private life to lower the risk of contamination. Discuss what you expect from them and how they can lower the risk.
4. Only people that really need to be present are allowed to enter.
5. Make everyone wash their hands before entering and make sure enough paper handkerchiefs are available.


  • Show and discuss the infographic and make sure it complies with the latest official updates.
  • Take care of good hygiene:
    • wash hands;
    • Sneeze and cough in elbow;
    • use paper handkerchiefs and throw them away after use;
    • don’t shake hands and don’t have any other contact like welcoming kisses.
  • Divide groups or staff over different compartments. Don’t have them entering or change to company wear all at the same time. Organize coffee breaks and lunch in shifts.
  • Make employees work in different compartments or at different times. And don’t change that.
  • Have different work done by the same staff to prevent employees from moving to other areas.
  • If employees need to move to other areas, let them wash hands before and perhaps change clothes.
  • Make sure employees can wash or disinfect their hands on multiple places. This must be possible at all times.
  • If employees show symptoms but (temporarily) can’t be missed, then make sure they can’t contaminate others. Isolate them from the rest of your staff.


Prepare an emergency plan where most critical processes on the nursery are mentioned and how continuity can be guaranteed. 

Write down critical information and determine who has access to this information.
Examples are telephone numbers, contacts, access codes, authorizations and back-ups.

  • Prepare who can replace employees in critical places or with critical tasks.
    • Who can / shall replace who?
    • Who is in charge and who organizes a crisis meeting?
    • Who operates the climate computer / process computers?
    • Who is in charge of crop protection?
    • Who is in charge of the CHP and lighting?
    • Extend this list with your own specific tasks.

    Make sure employees with critical tasks don’t contact physically.

    • Let them work in separate rooms or introduce time shifts.
    • No physical working together. Work that can be done from home should not be done at the nursery (planning, telephone, administration).
    • Use digital working methods like Skype and Whatsapp, even if employees are at the nursery. In this way you make sure people don’t physically make contact. And test these methods if they work, before you need them.
    • Don’t let employees use the same equipment or have it disinfected first (telephone, computer, coffee maker)

    What to do if employees get ill?

    • Procedure
      • Where and how to register?
      • Note telephone numbers and contact persons.
    • Pay attention to paperwork, identity cards, legal requirements, etc.
      • Where can I find replacement?
      • What skills / quality / knowledge required? Have this on paper.
      • Is an instruction ready? Who takes care of this?
      • Who takes care of all legal requirements?
    • Redirect different tasks when a lot of new employees are hired.
      • What tasks can be done by other employees?
      • Which tasks have priority?

    What to do if too much people get ill?
    Determine the priority of tasks. Which have highest priority? Which tasks can be done later?

    • Short term continuity (today / now)
      • What part shall be harvested and what part shan’t?
      • Take care of harvesting or crop maintenance first?
      • What sections have priority (depending on client, crop phase, etc.)?
      • What tasks can wait?
      • Extend the list with your tasks that influence daily continuity
    • Long term continuity (>week)
      • Crop protection?
      • Extend the list with your tasks that influence continuity
    • Long term continuity (> month)
      • Repairs and maintenance to installations
      • Extend the list with your tasks that influence continuity


    More information

    Glastuinbouw Nederland offers practical tips in DutchEnglishPolishRomanian and Russian. 

    Follow information and instructions provided by the government of the country in which you operate.