May 1, 2020
Residents in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark will be able to start planting in community gardens soon. On April 25, 2020 the government of Ontario lifted restrictions, allowing community gardens to operate following the guidance of the local Medical Officer of Health. Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit supports Ontario’s decision. ”Community gardens increase access to healthy foods, provide a sense of community belonging, and support mental well-being, and physical activity”.
Under the provincial Emergency Order, only gardens with the capacity to follow the requirements are permitted to operate.The Health Unit has prepared safe operating requirements for local municipalities, community organizations related to: entrance restrictions, physical distancing, hand hygiene, sharing and cleaning of equipment, signage, and communication.
In addition, rules and guidelines for community gardeners have been developed and should be followed by all users.
- Individuals should not attend the garden if they are sick, have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, or close contact with someone who has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days. If possible, complete Ontario’s online self-assessment tool before attending. Plot owners should arrange to have someone tend their plot for them until they can return.
- Wash hands with soap and water before and after handling common tools such as hoses or gates and before and after gardening. If there is not a sink available, bring alcohol based hand sanitizer and sanitize hands regularly. Remember gloves are not a substitute for washing hands.
- Everyone in the garden must always maintain physical distancing of 2 metres/6 feet (unless gardening with members of the same household).
- Adhere to the garden schedule and do not attend the garden when it is not your scheduled time.
- Avoid touching surfaces such as gates and doorknobs if not necessary.
- Bring your own garden tools and sanitize them after use. Health Canada has created a list of disinfectants that are safe and effective against the virus.
- If you have to bring your children to the garden, they should be instructed to follow physical distancing and hygiene recommendations.
- Do not bring pets to the garden with you.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, eyes and face.
- If cloth face coverings are used as an added measure, wash hands before and after use and do not share with others.
- Place all trash in proper garbage receptacle or take garbage with you to dispose of at home.
By working together we can create a healthy and safe environment for our local community gardeners.
The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800-660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.
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