During the Coronaviris crisis, the UK Government is asking us to stay home to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. At the time of original publication of this page (Tuesday 24 March, 2020), the country has been placed on lockdown, with schools, shops, bars and clubs shut. We're not allowed to leave the house unless for essential food items, work we can't do at home, and exercise, either alone or with one member of the household – groups of more than two are banned outside the home.
Many of us gardeners will be spending extra time in the garden. But what about the allotment? Can we still go?
After the Prime Minister Boris Johnson's address to the nation on Monday 23 March, 202o, Chancellor Michael Gove clarified matters relating to 'exercise'. He said people would be allowed to run, walk or go to an allotment, but that more social activities, such as playing golf, were not allowed.
How to stay safe on the allotment during coronavirus
Advice updated at 10am, Friday 27 March, 2020.
Visiting the allotment is essential for the physical and wellbeing of many of us.
We spoke to Doctor and Broadcaster Amir Khan, who said: "It's still perfectly safe (and recommended) that you go out into your gardens and allotments for both the health of your mind and body."
However, it's important to adhere to strict social distancing rules while at the allotment and travelling to and from the allotment. We've come up with some guidelines to help keep you and others safe:
- Avoid public transport if possible. Instead walk, run, cycle or drive to the allotment, either on your own or with one other member of your household.
- Do not pick up anyone on the way and travel to the allotment with them. This is not allowed. If you bump into someone on the way then maintain safe social distancing protocols (stand two metres apart).
- Wash or sanitise your hands after using the allotment gate. It would be helpful to others if you wiped down the gate, as well, if you can.
- Don't wash your hands in the communal water troughs.
- Don't work on the allotment in groups of more than two. If you share the plot with someone from a different household then you must observe safe social distancing rules. Ideally, work out a timetable so you can visit the plot separately.
- If you bump into people then maintain safe social distancing protocols at all times.
- Don't make anyone a cup of tea.
- Don't share tools.
- Don't visit the allotment shop.
- Avoid taking your children the plot if you possibly can. If you do take them, ensure they keep to your plot and avoid playing on communal areas.
- If you take your dog with you, ensure it is kept on a lead, within the bounds of your own plot. If it wanders off and you need to retrieve it from communal areas this could place you and others at risk.
- Wash or sanitise your hands thoroughly before and after eating food, and when you get home.
Current Government advice could change, and we will update this article when we have new advice.
Jobs for the allotment
There's plenty you can be getting on with on the allotment now, from digging and preparing beds, to mulching, sowing seed and harvesting the last of the winter crops. Browse our lists of jobs for inspiration: