Operating Community Gardens Safely
Community gardens are permitted to operate under strict health and safety guidelines.
Screening and Entrance Restrictions
- Prohibit access to anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or has had close contact with a conﬁrmed case. Individuals exhibiting symptoms possibly due to COVID-19 infection while at the garden are to leave the garden and contact their family doctor or Public Health Services.
- Restrict access to registered members, staff, and volunteers. Non-members and visitors should not be permitted to enter.
- Maintain an updated list of registered members, staff, and volunteers and keep a record of those who consent to participate under COVID19 policies and procedures.
- Permit access to plant, maintain and harvest food only. Prohibit events such as ﬂower festivals, children’s events and other programming, training, group builds, etc.
- Active screening of all staff and volunteers must be completed before attending work. This involves asking questions about: COVID-19 symptoms, travel history, and if they have come into contact with any ill individuals. A sample screening tool is posted on the Ministry of Health webpage.
- Prior to visiting the garden, all gardeners should complete the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool and follow the instructions provided. Anyone who is feeling unwell should not visit the garden.
- Gardens should use a sign-in and sign-out system or implement another way to track who is in the garden each day. This may assist with Public Health follow-up with gardeners if required or other necessary measures.
- Place clear, visible signage at all garden entrances reminding registered members, staff and volunteers about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, self-screening and where to seek assistance if they have symptoms.
- Place clear, visible signage throughout the garden — especially locations where shared equipment, tools, etc. are located — reminding registered members, staff and volunteers of the requirements that must be followed when using the garden to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Masks and Face Coverings
- Gardeners should wear a face covering or non-medical mask to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 when physical distancing (keeping at least two metres from others) may not be possible. More information on the use of non-medical masks and face coverings can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada webpage and on the City of Hamilton Face Coverings and Masks webpage.
- Limit the number of gardeners in a space to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
- Everyone in the garden must always maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or 2 metres (unless gardening with members of the same household).
- To ensure physical distancing is possible, each community garden should determine the maximum number of people permitted in the garden at one time. It is recommended that a garden schedule be developed to control the number of people permitted in the garden at once. Closing and/or blocking off all non-essential amenities such as picnic tables and benches.
- No guests are allowed in the community garden and social events should be cancelled to discourage any gathering.
- Children should only be brought to garden on an as-needed basis and should be instructed to follow these physical distancing and hygiene recommendations except when gardening with close family members.
Cleaning and Disinfection
- If possible, provide a place for gardeners to wash their hands. If the handwashing station is in a bathroom, the bathroom needs to be equipped with water under pressure, liquid hand soap, and paper towels. Bathrooms are required to be cleaned at least twice daily, or as needed.
- Encourage gardeners to bring hand sanitizer with them when gardening. If hands are visibly soiled, hand washing is recommended in place of hand sanitizer.
- Members are asked to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before entering and after leaving the garden, and after using shared tools, if feasible.
- All high touch surfaces such as faucet handles, spigots, shed locks/handles, gate locks should be cleaned and disinfected twice daily.
- Consider removing shared tools and gloves and encouraging gardeners to bring their own.
- If removing shared tools is not possible, gardeners are to wear their own gloves when using shared tools or wash their hands after using shared tools.
- If cleaning tools, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Each gardener must wear their own pair of gloves
- Guidance on how to safely use a community garden during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on Sustain Ontario’s website.
- Refer to Public Health Ontario website for fact sheets on how to self isolate, complete a self assessment, physical distancing, how to wash your hands and cleaning & disinfection.
- These guidelines apply to community and allotment gardens across the City of Hamilton. Please visit www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus regularly for COVID-19 updates and additional information on protecting yourself and others.
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