Are gardeners keyworkers?
This question has been in the news a lot this week, as people and businesses try to make the best decisions they can regarding their health and their lives, and those they are responsible for, by interpreting lockdown guidelines.
Key workers are people who will keep the fabric of the country running during the current lockdown, medical staff, emergency staff, police, postal workers, delivery drivers etc. (Apologies to anyone missed out!) Do we, as gardeners and landscapers, fall into this category? Hand on heart, no, we cannot say that we do. However at T Jefford’s we feel can still contribute to society in terms of keeping sites accessible and safe for our commercial clients, helping the economy by ensuring our survival as employers and sharing our collective experience and expertise to help people stay positive whilst at home.
The current government guidelines to help us decide whether or not we should continue trading are as follows.
“With the exception of some non-essential shops and public venues, we are not asking any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.
However, you should encourage your employees to work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so.
Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.
Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.
Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a two-metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.”
Our priority is the protection of the health and safety of our employees and our customers. We have risk-assessed the different areas of our business and feel that we can carry on trading whilst confidently protecting both our employees and customers with new safeguarding measures. In practical terms, this means that;
- Our customer service, design and admin team are working their regular hours from home.
- Our landscaping staff have been offered voluntary furlough leave, and most of them have taken this option.
- We have suspended our domestic and commercial maintenance rounds. This is an attempt to prevent our guys who have chosen to work from having to visit multiple locations in one day, to prevent unnecessary spread of or exposure to the virus.
- For the same reason, we will be prioritising longer jobs of half a day or more. This means we can carry out work for our existing commercial sites and on larger domestic projects where customers have already paid deposits in good faith.
- We are in the process of contacting all of our customers at the moment and will only be committing to work on a day-by-day basis.
- The decision to allow us on site will ultimately reside with the customer.
- There are safety criteria we will need to confirm before we can come onto a site.
- We may have to withdraw our services at short notice if circumstances change suddenly.
- Any services we cannot provide due the impact of Coronavirus or lockdown will be resumed as soon as is practical and safe to do so. We are still taking deposits and bookings for later in the year and will resume a full working schedule as soon as we are able.
If you would like to view our new safeguarding procedures, these are available on our website.
Communication is essential at this time, so if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact Teigan on 01915971297 or email us at email@example.com.
You are also very welcome to contact us if you are thinking about your garden right now, especially if you would like some advice on how to keep on top of things so you can enjoy it whilst at home! We are still chatting to people and making lots of exciting plans for the future.
We are confident that as a business and a society we can pull through this together. Our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone suffering with their health or financial hardship in these difficult and unprecedented times.
Stay safe everyone,
Sal & Trevor Jefford
T Jefford Landscaping and Garden Services
Unit 19 Sacriston Industrial Estate