Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust response to Coronavirus
We have been assessing the Covid-19 situation daily and are constantly reviewing our events and public spaces, taking sensible steps to protect the health and safety of staff, volunteers and members of the public.
We are thinking of all our wonderful members, volunteers and supporters at this time, and hope you all stay safe. We recognise how important nature is for our wellbeing, and plan to send out regular updates for things you can do from home, or in your garden.
What have we done
The Trust has taken steps to help limit the spread of Covid-19. We have cancelled all forthcoming events and have closed our head office and centres. We have temporarily reduced our staff number by 40% so it may take slightly longer than normal to deal with requests and enquiries.
Please note that we have also closed all of our car parks and may need to close part/all of some nature reserves to protect the safety of our staff working on site as well as the public.
We thank you for your patience and are grateful to our members and supporters for your ongoing commitment to the Trust.
Reasons for the closures:
- We have seen a lot more pressure on some of our nature reserves, similar to other open spaces. It is very difficult to practice good social distancing on some of our nature reserves which puts both members of the public and our staff at risk, so we have needed to take steps to mitigate this.
- As an organisation, in line with government requirements, we are working to have skeleton staff on site and want to protect them as much as possible. It may not be possible to carry out some essential health and safety works needed on trees/footpaths and fencing during this time, so we may need to close areas/footpaths.
- The guidelines from the government are clear, people need to stay at home. If a visit to your local (walking distance) nature reserve is a daily occurrence and is built into your exercise time this is fine, but we absolutely want to limit people driving to sites and discourage increased footfall.
Time spent outside
As we all know, time spent connecting with nature is really important for our health and wellbeing, but at the current time it's essential that you do this in as safe a way as possible. Government guidelines have been shared that provide some useful points on how to safely access your local green spaces. The full statement can be found here, but the headlines include:
- Stay local and use open spaces near to your home - do not travel unnecessarily
- Only venture outside on your own or with members of your household
- Keep two metres apart from anyone outside of your household
- Do not hold gatherings of more than two in parks or other public spaces - this will be enforced by the police
- If you have a garden, use this for exercise and fresh air
- Take hygiene precautions whilst outdoors and wash your hands when you return to your home.
Whilst we would advise people to avoid popular footpaths during the warm weather, for those accessing public rights of way as part of their permitted daily exercise, the Government has urged that the Countryside Code is adherred to. In addition, they advise that:
- You maintain a distance of at least two metres from other people
- Hand wash/sanitise after touching any shared surfaces e.g. sites/gates
- Keep dogs on a lead around livestock and away from other people/dogs
- Leave gates as you find them.
Stay safe and take care. We are in this together.