I hope this message finds you well and in good spirits given the very difficult times which we are all experiencing. I am sure that our gardens have provided great consolation over the past few months. Many people I talk to have taken the opportunity to revitalise parts of their gardens hopefully putting them in better order for the future. The list of “pandemic projects” that people have been engaged in is both extensive and innovative.
Gardeners by their very nature are optimistic people. We take cuttings, plant seedlings, raise seeds all in the expectation of securing a harvest or creating a thing of beauty in the future. Fires, pandemics, drought and, in my case at the moment, hungry wallabies can not deter us from our endeavours.
As covid19 restrictions begin to ease many clubs are directing their attention to what they have to do to resume normal activities. Some clubs have asked QCGC for advice on this matter. I must stress that QCGC is not in a position to give definitive advice nor are we able to direct or instruct clubs as to the actions they might take.
Clubs, ultimately, must make these decisions for themselves. It is suggested that at the very least they should take the following matters into consideration:
- Become familiar with the rules for public indoor and outdoor gatherings as listed on the official Queensland Government Covid19 website. Clubs must ensure that they are in a positon to fully comply with any regulations or directives contained in that advice.
- Check with the people from whom you hire your meeting space. They are likely to have requirements with respect to the numbers of people allowed in a venue, social distancing, personal hygiene and pre and post meeting cleaning. If you find that the maximum number of people allowed is less than your generally expected attendance you may need to operate an RSVP approach. People will need to advise you of their intention to attend so that you can comply with any restrictions on numbers. In this situation “walk ups” cannot be allowed.
- It is absolutely vital that accurate attendance records are kept. Clubs would normally have full contact details for their members. However, it there are visitors, you must ensure that adequate contact details are obtained in case the need arises for contact tracing in the event of an outbreak.
- As a club you may wish to take certain measures in addition to official requirements e.g. you may provide your own hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes etc. You may wish to limit the numbers of people present beyond what is officially required. You may wish to recommend that members use face masks etc..
- Bear in mind that given the typical age range for garden club members some of your members who have existing health issues or who have family at home whose health is compromised in some way may not wish to attend a face to face meeting. You may need to look at how you can maintain a level of contact with them. Nobody wants to exclude members or lose them for the future.
Whatever approach to the resumption of normal meeting activity you take, you must make sure that everything is fully explained to your membership. Newsletters, emails and telephone trees may be needed to achieve comprehensive communication.
Having said all this, things are looking brighter so if we can ease ourselves back into a more normal pattern of activity hopefully we will be in a position to return fully to business as usual in the not too distant future. In the meantime, enjoy your gardens. They are a great support for the spirit in these difficult times.Phil Adam
Queensland Council of Garden Clubs