We have implemented a variety of measures to help protect us, our family, our customers, and the wider community.
On Monday evening, 23 March 2020, the UK Prime Minister addressed the nation about various restrictions that would be put in place to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The instructions are summarised on the .Gov website as follows:
Stay At Home
- Only go out for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home).
- If you go out, stay 2 metres away from other people at all times.
- Wash your hands before you leave home, and as soon as you get home.
- Do not meet others, even friends or family.
- You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
The summary and full text of the PM’s speech can be found by clicking the blue button below.
The following day, before First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister gave a statement to reaffirm the UK restrictions. The statement contained the following words specifically clarifying the position with regard to gardeners. This is the direct quote using the First Minister’s own words:
“….We know that for some people, for example self-employed gardeners and window cleaners, where there is no contact with other people, if they can go about their business safely, then this can be good for the community, and we would encourage them to do so.”
The full text of the First Minister’s statement, and the direct quote above, can be found on the .Gov.Scot website by clicking the orange button below.
Over the course of that week, from Monday 23rd to Friday 27th, there was also a variety of statements from other politicians, political commentators taking question and answer sessions from the public, and even a medical doctor as a guest on a mainstream television programme, who all also confirmed that where a solo gardener was working in a garden in isolation, who had no face-to-face or other contact with their customers, who could do so safely, could and should continue to carry out their work.
As I work in isolation, travel directly to customers’ gardens in my own van on my own, have no face-to-face contact with customers or the public when working, only use electronic invoice and payment systems, and have implemented a varity of safety measures, we will continue to carry out our lawn care and gardening schedule, until such time as the governments’ instructions change from the existing instructions and guidance set out above and on their official websites.
Our Safety Measures
This is not an exhustive list of safety measures – we will continue to update and add to this list as additional measures come to mind.
- Travel solo in van.
- Solo working in gardens, in isolation.
- All machinery handles – anti-virus spray after each job (*1)
- All touch points (gates/bins) – anti-virus spray after each job
- All starter cords and levers – anti-virus spray after each job
- Nitrile gloves worn under safety gloves (*2)
- Nitrile gloved hands washed with foam soap after each job
- Steering wheel / gear leaver / indicators / keys washed with foam soap
- Face masks used in limited circumstances e.g. petrol station (*3)
- Our battery equipment reduces/eliminates the need for petrol pump use
- No face-to-face contact with customers or public
- All uniformed clothing washed daily with detergent and laundry cleanser
- All quotes and invoices are emailed only – no paper copies
- No cash or cheque payments are accepted – only electronic payments
- Mobile phone wiped with foam soap after each use
- All machinery washed down with soap solution at the end of each day
- Text customer, whenever possible, in advance of arrival at a garden
- Email safety measures to customers (*4)
- When not at work – stay at home and follow government instructions
- Electronic schedules to be held & produced if requested by authorities
- Anti-virus spray is a vetenary grade solution, and was purchased in early 2019, for our pets, long before COVID-19 surfaced.
- We have worn nitrile gloves under safety gloves since we started our business in 2013. These current gloves were purchased in early 2019.
- Face masks were purchased in 2013 and have been kept in our first aid kit since then.
- Emails listing our COVID-19 safety measures were sent to our customers on the 19th of March (before the PMs speech to the nation), and another email updating our safety measures was sent on Tuesday evening, the 24th of March, after the FM’s statement. We will continue to update customers on our safety measures.
We are fearful of this virus – we are treating it very seriusly indeed. Our decision to continue working is not based around needing the money (although, we all need money to pay bills, and to run and sustain a business). ‘Needing the money’ does NOT fall into a catagory to which the government has said it is okay to continue working. We continue to work because the government has implicitly and explicitly said in circumstances such as ours, with the appropriate social distancing, isolation and safety measures in place, it is acceptable to do so – in fact, should be ‘encouraged to do so’. This advice is based on facts, science, and evidence based risk assesments. This advice has also been clarified, reiterated and discussed openly on television, radio, and on official websites. We, as a business and as individuals, will be guided by the advice of the government, authorities, and their medical and scientific advisiors. We do not follow the opinion of posts on Facebook and other social media channels from souces that cannot be verified or backed up by evidence open to review by science and/or official channels such as government websites.
“I take the safety of my family, our customers, and the wider community very seriously. I use rationalism, science, government advice, rules, regulations, law, knowledge, safety measures, vigilence and compitence to help manage my fear of this virus and to help reduce its spread. I do not follow nor let myself or our business be guided by misinformation, intimidation, personal opinion, and the work shaming that appears on some social media channels. Until such time as the government updates or issues new instructions, we will continue to work well inside the government’s framework for those that cannot work from home.”