Residents have been thanked for staying at home and also for social distancing while outside over the Easter bank holiday weekend as the borough continued to respond to the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Council leader Julian Bell said: “We’ve seen warm and spring-like weather over the last few days, which has made it even tougher for local people to observe the ongoing emergency rules. So, I want to offer my thanks the vast majority of residents who have observed them diligently.
“Staying at home when at all possible and following the government rules will no doubt help us to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. It will also help protect the NHS and the front-line staff working incredibly hard in hugely challenging circumstances.”
The council has introduced measures in local parks to stop non-essential use by visitors and help limit the spread of the virus. This includes the closure of car parks serving parks, green spaces and nature reserves, so residents only visit areas local to them and avoid travelling longer distances by car. A small number of cars have been spotted being parked in streets in order to visit parks and those residents are reminded that this is not responsible behaviour.
Councillor Bell continued: “I encourage residents to avoid parks and open spaces for everything except essential exercise in line with the government’s rules. And please stay local – getting in your car to get there is defeating the object of keeping people apart and at home as much as possible.
“We want to keep our parks open for the people who really need them, but with social distancing still in place we need everyone to continue to act responsibly and, of course, to follow social distancing at all times.
“If a minority of people who are not behaving responsibly
continue to do so, then we would have to consider closing our parks – which
means the few spoiling it for the many.”
Further steps have been taken to ensure that local people are acting responsibly, following the rules and maintaining social distancing at all times.
There has been an increase in
patrols of the borough’s 146 parks and open spaces by the police park rangers,
Parkguard and Kingdom officers. Six parking attendants were also brought in
over the Easter bank holiday for support. These patrols are in place to offer
guidance and advice about the government’s rules, with enforcement the
responsibility of the police.
If anyone does decide to use a local parks for daily exercise they must ensure they stick to the government’s social distancing advice. They must not gather in groups, play team sports, sunbathe or have picnics or BBQs. Further signage reminding local people of the rules has been introduced.
Playgrounds, outdoor gyms, tennis courts, skate parks, as well as other park facilities in the borough have been closed to help limit the spread of COVID-19. As some previous measures to close facilities are being vandalised to gain access, additional fencing around such equipment is set to being installed in a number of locations.
Local people are also reminded that they should keep dogs on leads at all times in accordance with the Mayor of London’s rules on stopping the spread of coronavirus.
Photo by Toby Cross