EYA’s COVID-19 Policy

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, EYA will continue to offer in-person garden-based programs with strict protocols to keep you and your family protected as long as it’s safe for us to do so. We’re carefully monitoring updates from health authorities, and if the situation worsens in BC, we will be ready to shift our programs online.

Below are the safety protocols we will follow in our programs throughout the pandemic. They will be reviewed and updated as new information becomes available to us.

1) Sickness, Possible COVID-19 Exposure & Screening Procedures
EYA staff, youth, and guest facilitators who are sick OR have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days OR were identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or outbreak will not be permitted to visit EYA’s garden and programming sites or EYA’s office. 

EYA program staff who experience any symptoms must use the BC Health self-assessment tool to determine if the symptoms could be COVID-19. If yes, they must complete a COVID-19 test. If the test is negative, they can return when symptoms subside. If the test is positive, they must self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work.

Our team will screen each youth participant when confirming registration in the program and at the beginning of each program session. We will also screen guest facilitators when the visit is scheduled and when the guest arrives by asking the following questions: 

  • Are you feeling sick? Examples include a new cough, headache, weakness, fever, difficulty breathing, etc. 
  • Have you travelled outside Canada in the past 14 days? 
  • Have you come into close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or someone who is sick with a fever/cough in the past 14 days? 

If a youth or guest facilitator answers “yes” to any of the questions above, they will be asked to return home and not be allowed to participate in the program session. 

2) Coughing, Sneezing, Touching the Face
EYA staff, youth, and guest facilitators must cough or sneeze into their elbow or a tissue at all times. Used tissues must be thrown away and hands sanitized immediately. Further, all individuals must avoid touching their face with unwashed hands.

3) Physical Distance
Two metres (6-feet) of physical distance must be maintained by EYA staff, youth participants, and guest facilitators whenever possible. When physical distancing is challenging due to the nature of an activity, masks must also be worn,  with social distancing consistently reinforced by EYA facilitators. This also means that physical contact – including hugs, high fives and fist bumps – are not permitted. You may have to wait to access a space that is occupied by someone else; please be patient and keep your distance.

4) Face Masks
EYA staff, youth, and guests are required to wear face masks at all times, except during lunch/eating and other activities where individuals will be safely spaced for a longer period of time. Face masks must also be worn when preparing tea mixes and making salves. Employees and youth participants will be provided with a re-usable cloth face mask and are responsible for bringing the face mask to each program session and washing in between each use. Employees will ask guests to bring their own mask. Disposable masks will be available as back-up.  

5) Hand Washing & Sanitizing
EYA staff, youth, and guest facilitators must regularly wash their hands with soap and water thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water is unavailable at our remote locations and when water is shut off in the winter, hands must be sanitized with an alcohol-based hand rub with 60% alcohol. At a minimum, hands must be washed or sanitized:

  • When entering and leaving the garden
  • After coughing or sneezing
  • Before and after eating

6) Group Size
The maximum group size EYA has designated to support social distancing is 10 people, including EYA staff, youth, and guest facilitators. Exceptions must be pre-approved by the Executive Director and carefully planned for. In the cases where multiple groups are on site at the same time, there will be no mixing of EYA staff, youth or volunteers and adequate space between groups will be ensured. 

7) Gardening Gloves
EYA staff, youth, and guest facilitators will be assigned a personal pair of gloves (or bring their own) and must not share. Gloves must be washed before being re-assigned to someone new (e.g. between program cycles). EYA staff must wash their personal gloves on a regular basis.

8) Gardening Tools & Program Materials
EYA staff and youth will be assigned tools or a set of program materials for each program session/work session and will not be allowed to share tools or materials during the session. Gardening tools and program materials will be cleaned and disinfected following each program/work session (with additional cleaning at lunch time for full-day programs) using sanitizing spray. 

9) Food Sharing
EYA staff, youth, and facilitators will not share food or prepare food to be eaten during EYA programs. Lunches provided to youth participants will be ordered from a local catering company or restaurant and will be pre-packaged in individual portions.

10) Disinfecting Common Surfaces & Touch Points
EYA staff will clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces, including door handles, water spigots, hoses, chairs, and tables prior to use and before each program (with additional cleaning at lunch time for full-day programs).

11) Indoor / Outdoor Gatherings
All EYA youth programs will take place outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. If the weather is poor, the program may be cancelled or tents may be set up to create a covered outdoor space.

EYA staff are allowed to gather in groups of up to 7 individuals at the SpencerCreo Centre and the Strathcona Community Garden Eco Pavilion, but must wear face masks and follow all above rules. 

12) Bathrooms
The onsite garden bathroom will be cleaned and sanitized daily before programs start. Disinfecting wipes will also be available in the bathroom for all to use.