Guidelines for the Operation of Community Gardens
On April 25th, the government of Ontario allowed community gardens to operate. Follow the guidelines below to keep users of community gardens safe in this time of COVID-19.
Please note that community gardens are not recreational spaces. Social gatherings are prohibited. It is the responsibility of the garden coordinator/manager to inform and ensure garden members, staff and volunteers are respecting the public health measures.
Garden coordinators/managers should:
- Communicate EOHU messages with garden members, staff and volunteers. Use clear and visible signage at the entrance and in frequented areas throughout the garden:
- Who can access the garden
- Instructions for members, staff and volunteers accessing the garden
- COVID-19 symptoms and treatment
- What to do if you have symptoms
- Instructions for self-monitoring, self-isolation and isolation
- Instructions for good hygiene and public health measures, including frequent handwashing and physical (social) distancing
- Consider creating a list of registered garden members, staff and volunteers; track those who have agreed to participate under COVID-19 policies and protocols.
- Enforce physical distancing. Limit the number of gardeners at a time and make a schedule.
- Keep a record of who is entering the garden each day.
- Minimize the need for gardeners to touch common surfaces and shared equipment:
- Remove or block off non-essential amenities such as picnic tables and benches.
- If the garden has a gate access, consider leaving the gate open during hours of operation so individuals do not have to handle or touch the gate to enter.
- Do not provide shared tools. Instead ask that garden members and volunteers bring their own tools and gloves. If this is not possible, assign tools to each person.
- Provide one or more handwashing station(s) with soap and water. Handwashing is recommended in place of sanitizer if hands are visibly soiled.
- Provide instructions and appropriate products for cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces and equipment (hose taps, storage locks, etc.):
- Revoke access for any members who are not following the rules set out for garden safety.
- Print and post the Public Health Guidelines for All Community Gardeners (in the context of COVID-19).
Who can access the garden?
Only garden members, staff and volunteers are permitted to access the garden. Visitors are not allowed.
DO NOT come to the garden if:
- You are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (even if mild), such as fever, chills, muscle aches, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarse voice, runny or congested nose, headache, fatigue, loss of smell or taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain; OR
- You have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days (even if you have no symptoms); OR
- You are a close contact with someone who is ill with respiratory symptoms and/or has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days; OR
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days; OR
- You are a close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days; OR
- You have been advised to remain in isolation by the EOHU or another health authority.
Instructions for members, staff and volunteers accessing the garden:
- Ensure to consistently and strictly follow good hygiene and public health measures:
- Wash your hands with soap and water when arriving at the garden, before and after touching shared equipment, and when leaving the garden. If soap and water is not available, wipe your hands clear before using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, eyes and face.
- Practise physical (social) distancing at all times. Everyone must maintain minimum distancing of 2 metres (except members of the same household).
- Avoid or minimize contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared equipment.
- If keeping 2 metres distance from others may be challenging or not possible, it is recommended to use a face covering (non-medical mask) to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
- Limit the time in the garden to a minimum. Follow the garden schedule. Do not visit or be in the garden when it is not your scheduled time.
- If possible, bring your own garden tools and sanitize them after use. If you are using gardening gloves, launder them after each use.
- Do not bring pets to the garden with you.
- Place all trash in a proper garbage receptacle or take garbage with you to dispose of at home.
- Always clean fruits and vegetables using running water before consumption.