Allotments in Brent will remain open for the time being despite fears around the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Brent Council confirmed that they would continue to operate but clear guidance has been put in place to keep users safe.

This includes using hand sanitiser before touching any gates and locks, not sharing tools and observing social distancing by staying at least two metres away from others.

Regular hand washing is encouraged but visitors were reminded not to use allotment water tanks for this.

The council added that anyone with possible Covid-19 symptoms should not enter the sites and toilets would be locked to help reduce any spread of the virus.

It explained that the decision to keep allotments open was to provide residents with the chance to get some fresh air and exercise.

And its inspection process will be continually reviewed to ensure that untended plots – due to illness or isolation measures – can be maintained.

On Thursday (March 26), the National Allotment Society agreed that plots should remain open to allow people to get essential exercise and fresh air.

But it urged allotment users to take every precaution and follow government advice to keep themselves and others safe.

In a statement, it said: “We are living through a crisis, the likes of which none of us has experienced before, not since war time has the community spirit that exists on allotment sites been more important.

“Please remember to look out for one another during these very difficult times.”