Harlequin’s Gardens and COVID-19
After much deliberation and soul searching, the staff of Harlequin’s Gardens has committed to staying open for as long as possible. We truly believe that we can provide a much-needed service to the community, now more than ever. Many people have asked us not to close: “Please don’t close Harlequin’s! Gardening is one of the few good things we can still do.” People depend on us for organic veggie starts, herbs, fruiting plants, and just plain beautiful, happy plants, all of which help support our physical and spiritual well-being. Plants, humans, animals, soil, can come together in the fresh air, sunshine, joy, exercise, and feeling of community that is gardening.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still an emerging situation, and that makes a clear path forward, well, not so clear. Pandemic is a scary word, but we feel strongly that pandemonium is not a solution to a pandemic. Our first line of defense is accessing good, solid, evidence-based information. Here are three sources with prevention advice, who’s at risk, updates on spread: Center for Disease Control, Colorado Department of Health and Environment, and the World Health Organization.
The advice that we’re following, and we hope you will too is:
- Wash your hands
- Keep your hands off of your face, especially your mouth/nose
- Disinfect surfaces with household cleansers, wash yourself and your clothes
- Wash your hands
- Self isolate if you feel sick or are immunocompromised.
- Wash your hands, yes, again!
Hand washing sounds too simple in this hi-tech world, but it is one of the most effective things you can do for yourself and others. It’s better than using harsh disinfectants on them or surfaces, better than a mask, and better than wearing gloves. It’s more important than disinfecting everything all the time, which we can’t do anyway. COVID-19 is spread primarily and probably exclusively by aerosolized droplets from sneezes and coughs, not from casual surface contact. We want you to be safe. We want to be safe too. We get a lot of exposure in a day. Here’s how we can help each other.
- We’ll be disinfecting frequently touched things like door, faucet, and flusher handles, grab bars, light switches.
- We have lots of unscented hand soap, a nail brush, paper towels.
- We’ll be limiting the number of customers in the store to 4 (the good stuff is outside anyway).
- Only the first person in the checkout line will be in the store, and the rest will be asked to wait outside. We will have the sliding doors open too.
- We’ll also fire up our tablet, when staff are available, to expedite outdoor checkout.
- We’re asking customers to please use a credit card or check. Cash is dirty and we may stop accepting it at some point. You’ll swipe your own card, and we’ll ask permission for the cashier to sign the touchscreen with an “X”.
- All March classes are cancelled and we are processing refunds. Stay tuned for April class updates. We may be able to hold some of those classes outside.
- Try to keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others and please stay home if you’re feeling the least bit sick or even if you’re sneezing coughing from allergies.
IN ADDITION, most nurseries depend on the spring season’s sales for survival. It’s also the time when we’ve already made our largest investments in inventory. Even if we do close, some staff will still be working, and we need to make payroll. If you don’t feel comfortable coming in, please consider purchasing a gift card now that you can use for purchases later. These and memberships are available on our website and by phone. This will really help us stay afloat! Thank you all so much for your support!
The recommendation for voluntary, and possibly mandatory, isolation is one that may be harder to observe than it seems on the surface. We’re social animals, and isolation can have some detrimental consequences to our physical and mental health. Having to stay home from work or having all the kids home from school can be taxing, and those living alone may feel lonelier and more fearful. Something you can do to alleviate cabin fever is garden! Food! Flowers! Start seeds indoors with the kids. Plant extra to share/trade with neighbors and friends. If planting food crops, plant an extra row for those who may be in need. You know where to find everything you need!
Looking outward, there are additional ways we can all help to support our community. Suggestions from our friend, Elizabeth Black of The Citizen Science Soil Health Project, include
- Plant an extra row or bed of veggies to share with others
- Grow extra seedlings for your neighbors to plant
- Share your expertise to help friends feel more in control, and to develop a new hobby that will keep them fed and entertained