We received this in our inbox and thought neighbours would like to read it:

Now more than ever parks are providing an invaluable source for improving people's health and wellbeing, and we are doing all we can to ensure that parks remain open throughout these challenging times and that they are being used responsibly.

I wanted to let you know of actions that we are taking in the parks to encourage and reinforce the government messaging around social distancing.

On 11 May the Government updated its guidance around coronavirus, detailing expectations of what would be different now and allow people to engage in a wider range of activities to improve physical or mental health or emotional wellbeing.

Things that people can now do, that they couldn’t when lockdown was first initiated within the parks setting include:

  • Spending more time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air – picnicking or sunbathing
  • Meeting one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
  • Exercising outdoors as often as you like
  • Use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart

The Department of Digital Media Culture and Sport published further guidance on the 13 May making it clear that it was individual councils, clubs and facility operators decision if they choose to open sports courts or not at this time.

After much consideration the Council has taken the view that all tennis courts and ball courts managed by us will remain closed for the foreseeable future. This decision hasn’t been an easy one to make, but it has been made with the primary aim of keeping people safe when using our parks, and stopping the Virus spreading. However, the community sports organisations that run the courts in Finsbury Park, Albert Road Recreation Ground and Bruce Castle Park have decided to open the courts they manage.

Since the tennis courts and ball courts were first closed in March, there have been a number of regular break-ins by groups of people, breaking social distancing regulations. This behaviour puts everyone’s lives at risk. Despite our Enforcement Teams responding to reported incidents, and the Parks Team removing nets, hoops and putting other security measures in place, groups are still regularly flouting the social distancing regulations.

Therefore all tennis courts, ball courts, outdoor gyms and playgrounds will remain closed for the foreseeable future. We will regularly review this decision and only when we are confident that ball courts can be reopened whilst ensuring everyone’s health and safety, will we do so.

Please remember that you can all help in eradicating this Virus by:

  • Remaining at least two metres away from others while in the park
  • Not meeting in groups of three or more, other than those in your households
  • Keeping your dog on a lead at all times, otherwise you could face a fine of up to £100
  • Reporting any large gatherings in parks to the Police on 101

Thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards, 

Environment & Neighbourhoods

 

 

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