Covid 19 Emergency Measures

5 January 2021

As we go into a third period of lockdown the NAS has updated its advice to help members during the National Lockdown

The National Allotment Society is working to support plot-holders and associations so that they can continue to work their plots and manage sites in a safe and secure manner during the pandemic.

We are all living through a crisis, the likes of which the country has not experienced since war time. The community spirit that exists on allotment sites is now vitally important.

Please remember to look out for one another during these very difficult times. This is a constantly changing situation and we will review this page on a regular basis.

Please carry on using social distancing and taking hygiene precautions when visiting the site and touching communal surfaces. Plot-holders over 70 years of age, regardless of general health are particularly vulnerable. It may feel safe on an allotment site but there are still risks.

During the current lockdown you can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

HANDS: FACE: SPACE and only leave home for essential purposes

NAS Q & A  On Allotments and Social Distancing

Protect yourself and your family

Covid -19 – The virus that causes COVID 19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.  Some droplets are too heavy to hang in the air and they quickly fall and contaminate floors and surfaces. Other smaller airborne particles can remain in the air for some time. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of a person who has Convid-19- hence the 2m social distancing requirement, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.

Can I still work my allotment during the Covid19 lockdown?

Yes, allotments are a great way of both getting exercise and obtaining food during this crisis. However, social activities on site must cease and you can only visit once a day; unless you need to visit more to care for livestock.

Can I visit the allotment with my family and friends?

You can use your plot to exercise once a day along with members of your household, your support bubble or one other person- subject to any additional rules for your particular site.

If you do wish to bring someone to assist with work on the plot, please ensure that that this is notified either to the Secretary or Site Manager so that they can authorise and are aware of who is on site. It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency. Careful consideration should be given to introducing anyone over 70, those with underlying illness or pregnant women.

Can I drive to my plot? Yes, it is permissible to travel to access local green space to exercise.

How can I ensure my family’s and everyone else’s safety at the plot?

Do not attend the plot if you have coronavirus symptoms or a family member is self-isolating, this includes people who need to isolate after returning from holidays abroad.

Take a flask of hot water, soap and paper towels to the plot with you (cold water will work too).

Use hand sanitiser (should be at least 60% alcohol content) before entering the site and opening any gate locks

Wash hands for at least 20 seconds after closing the lock, dry with a paper towel

The most effective part of hand washing is the drying using preferably paper towel to remove the layer of dead skin scales – on which virus and bacteria sit. Paper towel to compost heap.

DO NOT touch your face after using anything that has been touched by other people- use an elbow to work the push taps.

Wash your hands again for 20 seconds, dry with a paper towel before opening and closing the lock to leave the site

Use hand sanitiser after closing the lock

Wash hands when you get home

Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2 metres

If you take your children to the plot, ensure that they stay within its confines and do not run around on communal paths and spaces.

Do not share tools

Do not wash your hands in water troughs

I am self-isolating  or shielding and cannot go to the allotment and worried about losing my plot, what should I do?

Please make sure that you inform your Council Allotment Officer or Allotment Association that you are unable to visit the site, preferably in writing, so that they can make allowances for your situation.

What changes should Allotment Associations make to site management?

Pin up information about social distancing and hygiene on a notice board or the gate, there is a QR code at the bottom of this page that links to our updating page.

Risk undertake risk assessments and take appropriate action to reduce hazards around any areas of the site that could cause contagion e.g. communal water troughs, equipment, taps, and gate locks. Click Here for government advice around cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

Gatherings. Communal activities should cease for the duration of the lockdown.

Communal facilities. Communal rooms should remain closed. Toilets could possibly open, if the Association feel that they are able to fulfill a cleaning regime that reduces risk of transmission for users and volunteers. A full risk assessment must be carried out, for further advice contact natsoc@nsalg.org.uk

Communal Water Points many sites will have communal taps and water troughs, the use of which could potentially spread the disease. The water supply itself is chlorinated https://www.wessexwater.co.uk/coronavirus.  Associations may want to consider a system whereby volunteers fill up plot-holder’s water butts from the taps. The volunteers would wear single use gloves (click here for de-gloving advice) and follow good practice around social distancing and hygiene.

If you are making a poster for the allotment gate, here is a QR code that will link direct to our latest advice.

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