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UPDATED: Important Service Changes

The World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 disease, known as the coronavirus, a pandemic. Due to this, GreenThumb has been making important service changes in the last two years, to ensure the health and safety of our partners and the public. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 related safety, so please visit this page to stay informed of any changes.

GreenThumb is incorporating the NYC COVID-19 Alert Levels provided by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene when trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at community gardens on NYC Parks property. GreenThumb continues to monitor the changes in risk level, and be prepared to increase COVID-19 prevention measures, such as restoring reduced capacity limits, if the risk level increases.

You can learn more, including how to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, on the CDC or NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene webpages.

If garden groups have specific questions, they should feel free to contact their designated Outreach Coordinator. It is imperative that we all work together and adhere to these requirements in order to help protect public health and safety.

For important NYC Parks Department information, please visit NYC Parks' Service Announcements page. 

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Updated on March 17, 2022

Please carefully review the following sections:

1.     Public Access Policy for GreenThumb Community Gardens on NYC Parks Property 

2.     COVID-19 Protocols for GreenThumb Community Gardens on NYC Parks Property

3.     Resources and Programming Updates from GreenThumb
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1. PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY FOR GREENTHUMB COMMUNITY GARDENS ON NYC PARKS PROPERTY

Please note that policies are subject to change based on City, state, and federal regulations related to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. 

Community gardens operating on NYC Parks property are resuming the standard GreenThumb requirements for open hours and public access starting April 1, 2022. 

During standard garden seasons, licensed and registered GreenThumb Gardens must remain open and accessible to the public for a minimum of 20 hours per week during the official GreenThumb garden season from April 1st through October 31st. A sign with a schedule indicating at least 10 of those 20 hours a week must be posted on the garden gate. For garden groups operating under the GreenThumb license Agreement, GreenThumb Gardens must be open for at least five (5) hours each weekend (Saturday and/or Sunday) during the season.

GreenThumb allows garden groups to set their own COVID-19 guidelines for visitors, garden members, public events, and volunteer projects, including any requirements regarding proof of vaccination or negative PCR tests (these decisions should be made in accordance with the garden group's bylaws).

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2. COVID-19 PROTOCOLS FOR GREENTHUMB COMMUNITY GARDENS ON NYC PARKS PROPERTY

Please note that protocols are subject to change based on City, state, and federal regulations related to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. 

All garden groups on Parks property MUST observe the following:

  • Face Coverings and Social Distancing: NYC is currently at a low level of community spread, face masks and social distancing are no longer required. However, face masks could be considered in public indoor settings, such as a shed, greenhouse, or casita, where vaccine status by others is unknown. There is no need to continue to disinfect commonly used surfaces or to limit capacity of indoor settings. Groups have the option to require face coverings inside the garden. 
  • Collaborative decision-making: All decisions regarding garden groups setting their own guidelines should be made in accordance with their garden group's bylaws. Decisions must be clearly communicated to all garden members and the public. These Factors For Garden Groups to Consider When Reopening to the Public can help guide your group’s decision.
  • Signage: A sign with the open hours schedule must be posted on the garden gate. Gardens must remain open and accessible to the public for a minimum of twenty (20) hours per week during the garden season from April 1st through October 31st. At least ten (10) of the twenty (20) public hours must be consistent from week to week. Of those ten (10) posted hours, gardens must be open to the public for a total of at least five (5) hours each weekend (Saturday and/or Sunday) during the season. NYC Parks GreenThumb is asking all registered GreenThumb gardens to complete the GreenThumb Open Hours Form by Friday, March 25, 2022. This is where you can request open hour signs mailed to the garden in multiple languages.  
  • Responding to incidents: Gardeners are not responsible for enforcing NYC Parks rules or guidelines set by the group. Politely remind garden members and public visitors on these guidelines set by the garden group if you are comfortable doing so (if applicable to your garden). Individuals who refuse to observe the rules and/or guidelines should be reported to 311. For more serious issues, you should contact GreenThumb, call NYC Parks Central Communications at (646) 613-1200, or 911 depending on the severity of the issue.
  • Public Events: Gardens are required to host at least two (2) free public events per year. Groups must obtain prior written approval from NYC Parks GreenThumb by using the Event Request Form
  • Outdoor Learning: All requests for schools in New York City to use community gardens as outdoor classrooms must first be requested by school staff directly to the garden group. Garden groups will be asked to complete a corresponding Event Request so that we can ensure that the garden group is supportive and to track these partnerships internally. 

Other COVID-19 prevention measures should continue, such as:

  • Reminding community gardeners and visitors to stay home when sick
  • Promoting vaccination and boosters for community gardeners and visitors
  • Enhancing ventilation as much as possible, such as opening windows and doors in sheds, greenhouses, or casitas
  • Promoting handwashing 
  • Sharing information about testing and treatment

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3. RESOURCES AND PROGRAMMING UPDATES FROM GREENTHUMB

GreenThumb Programming & Workshops
GreenThumb workshops and programs are now offered virtually and in-person. To watch past webinars, please visit the GreenThumb Webinars page and YouTube Channel. Don’t forget to like and subscribe! For updates on upcoming workshops and events, please visit the Garden Events page.

GreenThumb COVID-19 Resources
GreenThumb has developed a number of resources to provide guidance to garden groups in response to the unique challenges of COVID-19. These include guides for using virtual communication techniques, adapted composting plans, and more. These resources and other important resources can be found on our Gardener Resources page

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