May 2020 - COVID-19 Shutdown

Hello to everyone, at the end of what has been a very unusual April. It has now been too many weeks since we closed the doors to the shed, leaving most of us wondering how we were going to cope with this unexpected free time. For many, it has been a period of relaxation or recuperation, whilst others have been fully occupied with completing all the “I’ll get around to it sometime” jobs around home.

It does now look that we can see light at the end of the tunnel, with news every day that restrictions are being relaxed. It is possible that in the near future we will, with social distancing protocols in place, be able to visit friends and family, and that some entertainment venues will re-open. It may also mean that larger groups can congregate.

Whether that means our shed can open, we do not know, except we can be sure that when we are eventually allowed to return, more stringent rules around hygiene and social distancing will need to be followed. What this virus has highlighted, is that if rules regarding washing of hands, and keeping a safe distance away from others are followed, it does not only reduce the chances of catching Covid 19, it has helped ward off other maladies such as the common cold. But first of course, we need to re-open!

Of course, nobody knows if, when, and to what extent restrictions will be lifted. However, your committee has been giving some thought to the matter, and it is believed that whatever happens, some social distancing rules will need to remain.

One strategy, is that once we are officially told we can open the shed, is to do so in a way that maximises this social distancing, however, to achieve this, it may mean we need to place limits on how many persons are allowed in each of the shed areas at any one time. If we have attendance levels pre-Covid, then this may also require the shed to be open at additional times, and this could result in some members having to change their usual days. This would be contingent of course, on having enough shed supervisors on hand who can manage the various sheds for these extra sessions.

Tuesdays and Thursdays have traditionally been the days when most members choose to attend. It is when they meet over morning tea to discuss and solve the problems of the world, and through this have developed strong friendships. By default, this is also when announcements are made about shed events, and updates are given on the health and well-being of our members. One of the complaints in the past however, has been that those who do not attend on a Tuesday or Thursday, miss out on what is happening around the shed.

To maintain social distancing, it is expected that whilst individual sheds may open with limited numbers the Long Shed will have to remain closed until it is safe to open. This means that we will need to communicate with our members by other means, perhaps a weekly update via email. It also means that all days can be treated similarly, so those members who have habitually met on a Tuesday, but are no longer able, may choose to meet on a Wednesday, for example and resume their “problem solving” of world issues then.

Our first task however, is to find out how many members would like to return to the shed albeit in a social distancing environment, and knowing that the Long Shed will most probably be closed. This will mean that you will be asked to bring your own morning tea. Some members, cognizant of the vulnerability to the virus effects on our age group, may decide to suspend their involvement with the shed, until the “all-clear” is given. This is fully understandable, and their decision is respected. Once the numbers of those planning to return are known, a decision can be made as to how we can best accommodate those members and whether we will need to open for additional sessions.

To achieve this, you will shortly receive an on-line survey which will simply ask if you would wish to return to the shed in its limited capacity.

Be aware, that any decision to re-open the shed will be based on governmental advice. This may be sooner or later, we do not know, but it is important that we are ready to respond immediately, so can you please complete the survey as soon as you are able,