Covid-19 – updated 6th August 2020 and 13th September 2020
At every Committee meeting, our C-19 arrangements are reviewed. The priority is to keep vulnerable members and their households safe, while maintaining access to the allotments. Some plots are very close together and our tracks narrow, so it is not appropriate for us to follow government guidelines applicable to public open spaces. However, we have decided it is now safe to open the Green to members and guests. It is large enough to accommodate safely and not too near other plots. Remember: Government guidelines still apply, max 6 at any gathering. Other communal spaces (orchards (except for fruit picking), island…) remain closed.
Please follow the following guidelines and keep your guard up.
1. Members may come to their plot with up to three guests, but no more than four people can be on the plot at the same time. Some plots are too small for even this limited number to be safe, so please use your common sense and be aware that those on plots around you may be vulnerable, or have vulnerable family members at home. People from different households need to observe 1m+ distancing even on the plot.
The Government is allowing parents to take their children with them if it is not feasible to leave them at home, so we are doing the same (for members, not guests, sorry). Children must be supervised more closely than usual and are only allowed on your plot, the Green, the route to them. No playing on tracks and communal areas (other than the Green), sorry.
You are responsible for making sure that anyone you bring onto the site is aware of our guidelines and complies.
2. Observe distancing – keep at least one metre away from those outside your household everywhere on site. Be vigilant on tracks and paths.
3. Do not come on site if you or someone in your household are exhibiting symptoms. As ever, you are not allowed on other people’s plots or plot paths without their permission.
4. The Green is open to gatherings of up to 6. All other communal areas (orchards (except for fruit picking), Cripley Island…) are out of bounds. You may not use the tracks etc for running, playing, cycling etc.
5. Others may be infected without symptoms: high risk areas are where we all touch, such as communal wheelbarrows, water tanks and especially, the gate. So protect yourself and others by using gloves and/or hand sanitiser.
6. Minimise driving to the site and only park in one of the legitimate parking spaces. If you drive frequently you should park in the Walton Well Road car park to give others fair access to the few on-site spaces. Speak to the Committee if you have mobility issues that make this impractical.
Your guests may not park on site. They may only drive on site if they are helping you to transport something heavy.
7. On 18th April 2020, Oxford City Council banned bonfires on allotments for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency. It’s to avoid smoke causing problems for people with breathing difficulties, so includes fire pits, incinerators and lit BBQs (gas ones are OK). Remember: complaints about smoke from neighbours could lead to a total ban on bonfires on the site, so please be responsible. The communal bonfire area is closed but we are working to re-open it, watch this space. Please store materials for burning on your plot in the interim (don’t put in the skip).
8. The skip remains in use to help with plot clearance.
9. We have announced the re-start of limited working parties.  
10. There are a number of external contractors that we rely on to keep the site going – grass cutters, tree specialists etc. Ours is a complex site, and difficult to be sure where you are even with a map in hand. So if your plot doesn’t have a number, put something up that makes it clear. Otherwise there is a good chance that those unfamiliar with the site will go onto the wrong plot – yours, or a neighbour’s – and cause damage.
11. We have suspended regular Sunday opening of the Shop, but you can still contact Sarah for one-off purchases – see Site & Facilities->Trading shop for details.
12. We will continue to keep an eye on plots and let members know where action is needed. We have carried out a reduced Spring audit in May and a full audit will be done on 11th October. We do understand that members may be unable to keep plots up to their usual standard because of illness etc. As ever, please keep us informed of extenuating circumstances.
13. We have re-opened membership, adapting our joining processes and doing limited 1:1 tours.
14. We are holding Committee meetings by video conference, so please continue to contact us about permissions and anything else, but bear in mind the ‘service’ may not be quite as slick as usual!
15. We don’t want to bombard members with emails and continue regular newsletter updates. If there are major changes we will email, but otherwise this News page of the website is the best source of up-to-date information.
A monthly newsletter is sent to all members, and a copy is printed and put on the noticeboard by the gate.
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