Tuesday 24 March 2020

Working Your Allotment Is Allowed, however...

Plotholders should remember that although the allotment is a relatively wide open empty space it is still not risk free. The virus can live for 24 hours on cardboard (fertiliser boxes?) and 2 to 3 days on steel or plastic (allotment gates? communal taps? communal tools?). 

Exercise the save social distance recommendations and stay way from each other. If you need to visualise what is a safe distance, imagine an elderly or at risk dead relative laying on the floor between you and the next person, yes it a very graphic image to think about but it makes you think that it's necessary.   

Take wipes with you to the plot and, for example, consider cleaning tools and/or your hands after opening or closing gates or shed doors that might have been used by others, not easy as the water is not turned on until after the last frost date on many allotments, plus you will be using the communal taps. 

The virus can also live for several hours on clothing so think about washing your gardening clothing rather than using an overall multiple times. I know I have a set of allotment working trousers that get folded and used a fair few times. 

Personally as my wife is such a high risk due to her Lupus, and although it is my happy place and where I go for my mental well being as I'm already confined to the house as a carer I'm going to isolate myself from the outside world as much as possible to minimise the risk to her, so for the moment and for as long as my mental well being will allow, I'm staying in doors or in the garden.

#Istayhomefor Jennifer Wooldridge

UPDATE Statement for the National Allotment Society

Covid 19 Emergency Measures

Following the instructions around movement and gatherings from the Prime Minister on 23 March 2020, we are consulting with central government but as we understand the situation at the moment it is still permitted to visit your plot, ideally on your own to take daily exercise. It is vitally important that you follow all the advice about social distancing and hygiene in the points below and not gather together on site.
Any plot-holder who is self isolating because a household member is ill with corona-virus should not be visiting the site.
Associations should display an advice notice on their boards. It is important that anyone attending the allotment takes care to stay the appropriate distance from others, avoid body contact and wash hands at taps, do not wash hands or use detergents in the water tanks and please pay attention to notice boards.
It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency, if you do wish to bring someone to assist with work on the plot, please ensure that that this is notified either to Secretary or Site Manager.  Careful consideration should be given to introducing anyone over 70, those with underlying illness or pregnant women.
We are living through a crisis, the likes of which none of us has experienced before, not since war time has the community spirit that exists on allotment sites been more important.  Please remember to look out for one another during these very difficult times.
Members should take the following precautionary measures :
  • Keep hand sanitiser in your shed and wash your hands regularly
  • Use hand sanitiser before opening and closing any gate locks
  • Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2-3 metres
  • Do not share tools
  • Minimise the contact with each other for example no handshakes
  • Do not wash your hands in water troughs
  • We recommend that all communal facilities are closed
  • Click here for guidance if you do need to clean an area that has been visited by an infected person.
  • If you have livestock on the site and must visit  twice a day, take a photograph on your phone of your livestock, based on what is happening in other countries you may  eventually have to print off a government form to leave the house but if challenged it would be good to be able to show a photograph of where you are going.
  • Plan ahead to ensure that you have food and medication delivered to you during this time
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible
  • If you display any symptoms of coronavirus stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days or until symptoms have passed.
I know many Associations have taken decisions to cancel plot inspections, seed swaps, association trips and annual judging; scheduled Committee meetings and AGM’s should also be postponed.  It is important that any plot-holders over 70 years and those with underlying health issues follow the guidance and information issued by the government. It would be a good idea for Associations to give out a telephone or email address for anyone with problems to allow contact. Perhaps a Buddy System that provided weeding and watering assistance on the plots  of gardeners who cannot get to the plot due to long term self isolation could be set up.
All group NAS meetings were cancelled following the Government update on 16 March 2020 and will be reviewed on the 30th June 2020. This is a worldwide unprecedented and challenging time for so many people and of course the health and safety of our members, volunteers, and staff remains our number one priority.
We must all consider vulnerable families, friends and fellow plot-holders and give assistance where needed.
Government advice about the Coronavirus is updated on a regular basis at this link.
For NHS information and advice CLICK HERE

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