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I just caught the end of a tv programme last night 18th May 2020 around 8 pm ITV 

someone asked a question referring to gardeners working at their elderley parents high risk group over 80 

the advice was a gardener could pose a risk to someone in the vulnerable category and in particular to a household where someone is being shielded 

which was my understanding anyway .  but the guy answering the question then hinted a gardener should not be working at that property without first carrying out a full risk assessment . 

So is there a checklist available where all boxes have to be ticked and are we allowed to sign this off ourselves ? 

I have put Three jobs on hold after hearing the above advice .

!. very elderley lady sheilding her vulnerable husband 

2. very elderley lady where i am be required to go through the house to unlock the security gate to the back garden  , she is on a zimmer frame so not very mobile .

3. younger couple where i am required to go through the garage to get into back garden .( i dont see a problem with this ) 

obviously the  government guidelines are there to be observed is it best to postpone high risk jobs at the moment ?



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  • I have a big property and full time gardener. He's been working throughout ... I don't need to see him at all ... I have always sent him a text with a list of any jobs that I want doing, but a phone call would do for that. We do have a loo "down the end" which is accessible from outside. We don't use that, so he does have that convenience (sorry!).

    I'm struggling to see what the risk is in a situation like this (but happy to be enlightened)

    We have a clearner who comes into the house. She (and if anyone else had to come into the house - electrician/whatever) is required to enter through utlity room and first thing to wash their hands; there is soap and a paper towel roll there - and a page from the WHO about how to properly wash hands stuck on the cupboard !! (you could take your own soap/towel - you might prefer to!). I'm not in the at risk group so I appreciate that isn't great for an at risk household. Disposabable gloves when you go through the house and touch door knobs etc and a facemask (in case you have unknowingly have it), I wonder what the risk is.

    The young are more or less immune to the virus ... but not to the finanical turmoil and hardship that will last for all of their lifetime if people cannot work and keep the ecconomy going.

  • This might help:

    gov.uk - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), construction...

    Construction and other outdoor work - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Guidance - GOV…
    Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • There is also a .pdf to download that might help:

    Working safely during COVID-19 in other people’s homes

  • We seem to have been over this quite a lot.

    It is really simple. Go and do the job and keep away from the elderly owner completely.

    I have one client who is 89 and has health issues. He used to pay me in cash. But early on, I rang his son and arranged for him to pay me straight into my bank, so as to avoid contact during the pandemic. I just text the son when I have cut the grass and he pays me electronically. We wave through the window. There is no risk to anyone.

    Another lady in her 80’s who is a friend of the family and who is very fit and healthy, still pays cash but puts it in a little plastic slip and leaves it for me. I use gloves or gel when handling cash. She still comes out for a little chat but stays at least several yards away at all times. Apart from me and her nephew dropping off provisions on the door step, she has seen no one for two months. The mental health benefits to her to see me and have a chat must not be underestimated. Nor should be underestimated the mental and emotional benefits to these elderly clients to see the garden looking neat and tidy.

    There is much damage to be done to everyone in all sorts of ways by staying away also. All of this is about mitigating the risk. We can never get that risk down to zero, but we can vastly reduce the risk by being innovative and by being careful. If we were to try and achieve that zero figure we would not be going to the supermarket, not going to the petrol station and not going for the occasional walk, for fear of coming within several yards of anyone else. We are supposed to be slowly unlocking with schools looking to open and other people going back to work etc. We have to carry on and just be careful as we go, that’s all.

    Any buying of groceries means touching the products we are buying, which have been touched by how many others in the supply and shelf stacking chain? If we are not careful all of this worrying will drive us round the twist.

    My advice is, even if you have to go through the house, still go and do the work and be careful and keep apart as much as possible. If you keep apart, always wash your hands or use gloves or gel when touching door and gate handles, then there is no problem. It is just using common sense, which we gardeners have in abundance. Unlike the idiots who can’t work out what ‘Stay Alert’ means.

    Perhaps Piers Morgan should read this -

    STAY –



    remain in the same place.


    remain in a specified state or position.



    ALERT -


         quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances; vigilant.


     the state of being watchful for possible danger.


       warn (someone) of a danger or problem.

    • PRO


      I was checking to see if there were any updates apart from what we all know makes sense. 

      Hearing do a full risk assessment gave me visions of having to carry a clip board armed with litmus paper and test tubes.

      I think it's wise to try and keep informed 

      We have one customers daughter preffering us not to visit her elderly mum until its safe I would hate to be held to account by other customers relatives who may  put the blame our way if they got covid-19 

      Already got my head torched by a customer we love who thought I was too close but I certainly was not I could have questioned her about coming outside in the garden but it's better to be professional and make allowances for people's anxiety I feel so definitely have to be alert and aware of consequences of our actions. So I would rather not take any risks. 




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