The government has issued clear guidelines that are to protect vulnerable members of our community, social distancing needs to be followed by everyone.

The National Trust overnight has now closed its parks and gardens due to people not following these rules and behaving as though they are on holiday.

For us to keep open as an allotment association it depends on on all of our members keeping a safe distance from others.

in practice this should mean that each plot holder and any of their household should keep at least 2m away from other plot holders. In addition hands need to be washed for 20 seconds after opening and closing the entrance gates. There is soap in the toilet block. water supplies are now turned on.

I was on the site all day yesterday and unfortunately not everyone has yet understood the urgency to follow these rules. This is endangering the ability of the NHS to treat those hospitalised with COVID-19 and indeed everyone accessing treatment.

An emergency committee meeting is being held this week to discuss compliance on our site.

If these rules are not followed then we have no option other than to consider closing the allotment for all further access.

Chris Clifford

Chair, East Ward Allotment Association

Social Distancing Rules

18 thoughts on “Social Distancing Rules

  • 22nd March 2020 at 9:26 am
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    Dear Chris,

    Thank you for this timely reminder.

    I think however, even considering closing the site is a grave error and I think one that would be intensely challenged by a great number of people.

    Aside from the very obvious health benefits both physically and mentally of tending your own plot and in these times that is more important than ever, a great number of people rely on their allotment for food and sustenance. To let the land lie fallow for goodness knows how long would be a disaster to many people.

    I was at the plot yesterday all day and observed the two metre boundary and so did everyone else I met.

    I understand some people have underlying health issues and I include myself in that bracket but the choice should be theirs and it is a stark one. Go to the plot, keep your distance or don’t go at all but don’t rob people of the chance to get out, excersise and relieve the boredom that may well become routine.

    George Plot 97.

    Reply
  • 22nd March 2020 at 9:27 am
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    Thank you for continuing to update us and for taking this as seriously as it needs to be taken. Although I’ve been unable to get to my plot yet, I would be devastated if I didn’t have the option in the next week just because people are behaving selfishly

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  • 22nd March 2020 at 9:39 am
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    Completely agree but please please let’s follow guidelines and keep plots open

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  • 22nd March 2020 at 10:12 am
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    Yes, we do all need to act responsibly in this crisis and reminders about social distancing on our allotments are completely appropriate right now but the threat to close the allotments is an over-reaction to what’s been happening on the site over the last few days.
    The vast majority of people are keeping their distance, and when someone forgets they need to be reminded. It doesn’t come naturally to people to stay 2m away!
    The allotments are going to be very important to help people maintain their sanity (and their food supplies) over some of the most challenging months that some of us will ever have lived through. If closing the allotments is under serious consideration this is a huge decision and in my opinion it’s a decision that should only be made if we’re compelled to by the government or by all plot holders via a vote.
    I write this as someone who is self-isolating and trying very hard to avoid the virus – not as someone with a “what will happen will happen” mentality.

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  • 22nd March 2020 at 10:48 am
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    I have taken hand gel to the site to use before and after touching gate. My children are completely clear that they shouldn’t touch the gate when coming in and out. Need to think about taps too.

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    • 22nd March 2020 at 1:33 pm
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      I agree that the allotments are vital for people’s mental and physical wellbeing and we should do all we can to keep them open. As someone who has an underlying health condition I take the government advice very seriously but if we all practice social distancing I would be hopeful that we can keep them open. I would urge everyone to abide by the advice for hand washing and social distancing so we don’t have to face closure.

      Reply
  • 22nd March 2020 at 11:00 am
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    Agree with Sara . If site were to be closed there would be serious consequences for the mental health of many members, plus of course the general physical health from missing exercise, fresh air, organic fresh produce, etc etc. There is also our responsibility to keep our plots and the site in general in as good a condition as possible. And of course many of us have already made substantial investments of time, money, energy and imagination in preparation for the current season. Rather than closure I would recommend: notices on each gate reminding about hand washing before and after using, (and no soap into water troughs, take container of water to your own plots to wash hands with soap), remind about social distance. And if there are verified reports of people breaching these new codes they could be issued one warning by committee/chair/, membership secretary/new covid-19 officer then asked to leave ewaa – appealable, as it’s as much about education as punishment (It would be a good idea for everyone to start their plot visit by preparing tub of soapy water on their plot so they can wash hands before and after every trip to tap etc). -. Stewart

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    • 22nd March 2020 at 11:04 am
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      Stewart,

      As always a very sensible and sensitive post. I agree wholeheartedly with all of this!
      George.

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  • 22nd March 2020 at 1:57 pm
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    I echo all these comments. The site is such an important community resource for physical health, mental health, and food supply. I’ve been there lots this weekend and observed everyone enjoying the sunshine and being friendly but taking great care to maintain appropriate distance.

    On a personal note, my children will be absolutely bereft if they lose this safe space to run around, get muddy, and enjoy the hope and anticipation of growing their own food. So much else in their lives is topsy turvy – no school, nursery, clubs, church, friends or grandparents. Please, please can they keep this?

    Great practical suggestions above re: reminder notes on the gates, keeping a bucket on your plot for handwashing, care using taps, etc.

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  • 22nd March 2020 at 1:57 pm
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    I agree with all points above that closing the site would be a very grave error for both mental and physical health reasons. These places are going to be vital to many of us for open space, exercise and fresh veg. As for the locks, please can you hang a bottle of spray disinfectant on the gates so we can all disinfect the lock /before after using? Even better than washing hands.

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  • 22nd March 2020 at 4:14 pm
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    Agree with the other comments here. Let’s take soap and water to our plots and keep our distances. Given that we are all going to be inside a lot more, the allotment is actually a health benefit much more than it is a risk. A notice on the gates would be useful as not everyone visits the website.

    Reply
  • 22nd March 2020 at 7:16 pm
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    Will the emergency committee meeting be open to all who wish to attend and will it be held outdoors? This is a very important topic and I don’t think it should be held behind closed doors, irony unintended!
    George Plot 97

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    • 22nd March 2020 at 10:25 pm
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      George
      It’s being held as a telephone conference – just a virtual version of our standard committee meeting.
      You can make any points you want us to consider here or send an email to our email address.
      We are considering a range of points but rest assured the aim will be to keep the allotment open. Allotments across the country are all facing the same issues and having to make changes to the way they operate very quickly. Thanks for your input.
      Chris

      Reply
  • 23rd March 2020 at 9:50 am
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    Chris,
    Thank you for that. By far the most sensible way to go.
    George.

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  • 23rd March 2020 at 7:50 pm
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    Just reading the above – 7.30 pm Monday evening. ( I don’t have instant access to messages). I was there most of this afternoon as were many other people but all kept at a safe distance, as far as I was aware. My plot is half way along the shop row. I saw little evidence of hand washing. For myself I always use a special barrier hand cream before doing any gardening, and always wear gloves. today I took a another pair to wear only when unlocking and locking up. I agree with all the previous comments; the site must be kept open for all the reasons already stated. Hope to spend many days there in the coming weeks while self-isolating.

    Reply
  • 24th March 2020 at 9:40 am
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    Good morning,

    The RTHon Michael Grove gave guidance on breakfast TV this morning specifically about allotments saying that it was perfectly reasonable for people to use their allotments as part of their daily excersise routine. Citing the fact that by their very nature people are apart and that we should observe the distancing rules etc. I think this is sensible advice.

    On middle road all that I spoke to at a distance were washing their hands on their plot. This needs to be reinforced by signage.

    Having given all of this a lot of thought a measure we could take if numbers to the site rise dramatically, which is a possibility, is to restrict visits to plots to even plot numbers one day and odds the next. This a drastic measure but one that is open to us.

    We must do all we can to keep our site open so we should all get our thinking caps on and observe the few, simple, practical measures!

    George Plot 97.

    Reply
  • 25th March 2020 at 12:28 pm
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    We should be able to stay 2 metres apart even if our neighbours are on site. I am taking a special pair of gloves for opening and closing the gate, and a bottle of soapy water. We have to learn to all be in this apart! (By the way when Greece tried a few years ago to resolve pollution in Athens by only allowing cars to drive with odd or even number plates on certain days – the rich just bought a second car with the alternate number. Not sure we have anyone that rich on our allotments.)

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  • 27th March 2020 at 5:39 pm
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    Thank you in continuing to advise us. Ofcourse it would be very sad if they were closed but NOT an over reaction I feel. If adults and children are not abiding by the rules stated , they are ruining it for everyone. It’s quite a simple request. Don’t be selfish

    Reply

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