- NOTE: As of 12:01 am on Thursday, April 8, a provincial State of Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order is in place in Ontario to stop the spread of COVID-19. All of Ontario, including Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes, is covered by these measures. Learn more how these measures affect you.
Planning to operate or take part in a community garden this growing season?
The Health Unit is offering these recommendations to those involved in community gardens in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes to protect the health and safety of everyone during COVID-19. Below are the minimum standards that all community gardens must have in place before opening.
Use these standards as a starting point to begin planning and developing specific COVID-19 policies and protocols for your community garden. Be sure to communicate these plans to all garden members.
On This Page:
- Entrance Restrictions/Requirements
- Physical Distancing
- Handwashing/Hand Hygiene
- Garden Equipment/Tools – Use and Cleaning Requirements
- Additional Resources
- Members of the public are not allowed into the gardens. Only garden members are allowed. Post these printable signs in your garden as reminders:
- Prevent COVID-19: Please Obey These Orders – Sign for garden members
- Garden Members Only. Closed to Public – Sign for general public
- Anyone attending the garden should first complete the online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool and follow its recommendations.
- Garden members MUST NOT visit the garden if they show symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19
- Post signs around the garden on COVID-19 symptoms, physical distancing, and handwashing. Policies and protocols relating to COVID-19 should also be put up at all entrances and throughout the garden
- Use a ‘sign-in and sign-out system’ to track who is in the garden each day
- Update the list of current registered members, staff and volunteers involved in the community garden. Track those who have agreed to participate under COVID-19 policies and protocols.
- Only allow the number of people that can maintain 2 metres at all times (to a maximum of 100 people) to work in the community garden at once. To do this, consider developing a schedule where plots are numbered, and odd/even numbered plots come on different days.
- Maintain physical distancing when two or more gardeners are present. Keep at least two metres (six feet) apart from others
- If people plan to wear masks/face coverings in the garden, follow this Public Health Ontario fact sheet on how to properly wear and throw away mask.
- Remember wearing rubber gloves out in public does not reduce the risk of COVID-19. Handwashing with soap/water or hand sanitizer and not touching your face offer more protection
- If gardeners choose to wear mask and rubber gloves, wash hands before putting on the mask/gloves and after taking them off
- Masks and rubber gloves must be disposed of in a lined garbage bin only.
- Provide handwashing or alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with 60 to 90% alcohol content) stations
- Encourage all gardeners to regularly wash/sanitize hands, especially before entering and after leaving the garden
- Gardeners should know that if their hands are visibly soiled, they must first wash them with soap and water or wipe them before applying alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Garden Equipment and Tools – Use and Cleaning Requirements
- Ask garden members to bring their own tools, or assign select tools and tasks to individuals or smaller groups
- Avoid sharing garden gloves. Gardeners should take their gloves home to wash after each use
- Use gardening techniques that reduce the need for frequent trips to the garden (For example: use mulch to reduce the need for watering/weeding, row covers to prevent pests, etc.)
- Create and implement procedures to clean and disinfect all shared tools before and after garden work
- Regularly clean gardening tools with soap and water to remove organic matter. First rinse off soap with water, then disinfect. Consider disinfecting the handles of any tools that are shared. Use either a mixture of 1 Tbsp. of household (5%) bleach and 1 litre of warm water (mix a fresh batch each day) with 10 minutes contact time OR commercial Lysol or Clorox disinfectant with contact time indicated on label for disinfecting
- Ensure regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch indoor surfaces such as doorknobs, padlocks, water spigots, gates handle, railings etc.
- When bringing home garden produce, wash any vegetables and fruit under clean running water (not soapy water) before eating
There is no need to contact the Health Unit prior to opening your community garden. But if you are an organizer, you must ensure that all participants are aware of the regulatory requirements and public health measures that must be followed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Sustain Ontario – Updates and Recommendations for Community Gardens
- Government of Ontario Guidance
- Guidance on Health and Safety for Community Garden Sector During COVID-19 – Workplace Safety and Prevention Services