The following statement went out to all Essex Sheds at the start of Lockdown 2.0 and we’re sharing it here to clarify our position:
“After careful review and discussion of the government literature we can advise Sheds the following:
- Sheds meet the classification of ‘Support Group’ (maximum 15 attendees ) and as such can remain open with strict adherence to social distancing and use of PPE
- Any meeting associated with Sheds but not conducted during Shed sessions, i.e. committee meetings, should be held online
- Unless Shed members can use private transport (car or bicycle) or walk to Sheds, they should not attend sessions for the duration of lockdown
- All precautions highlighted in your risk assessments should be doubled-down upon – the safety of members is paramount
Of course this is our advice but the ultimate decision on whether to remain open lies with your membership. We will support all Sheds in whatever decision they make and will make time available at the Forum meeting next Wednesday to answer any questions you might have.”
This statement does differ from the advice being given by the UKMSA. However it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that Sheds are a vital support group for men who might be at risk from loneliness or isolation. And now that we are all living through the most isolating of times, the impact on mental health needs to be considered on balance with the risks of Sheds remaining open (whilst the rules allow it) and following strict social distancing and hygiene protocols.