Council warn parks may close as social distancing rules flouted

Trafford Council may be forced to close its parks if government guidelines around social distancing and gatherings of more than two people continue to be flouted by a minority.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 the authority has encouraged the use of its recreational spaces, sensibly, in a bid to help people deal with restrictions placed on their lives. 

Under new guidelines people have been told to stay at home unless they are shopping for essential food or medicine and travel to and from work.

Going outside to exercise is permitted, but people should stay at least two metres away from others at all times – and should only visit parks and public spaces if they are within walking distance.

However, a small minority of people are ignoring the rules – and, as a result, the authority may have no choice but to close all its parks and open spaces.

Trafford Council leader, Andrew Western, said:

The last thing we want to do is stop people from using nearby parks but the strict rules set by central government must be adhered to or we will be left with no choice but to close them all.

The vast majority of residents are respecting the guidelines and are sticking to the two metre rule and I thank them for their support. But, there is a minority of people who are not – and that is not acceptable. I have a duty of care to every resident in this borough – and I will not jeopardise their health and safety.”

Cllr Western urged everyone to be responsible – and not to take unnecessary journeys and follow the government’s clear advice to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

The new restrictions currently encourage us to keep parks open, but we are asking residents to use these responsibly and strictly in line with social distancing advice."

added Cllr Western.

This is for the good of everyone’s health and will help control the pandemic. Please, respect the temporary guidelines – and we will all get through this together.”

Posted on Friday 27th March 2020