Common sense call to people exercising this weekend

PEOPLE exercising this weekend should use common sense and stay local, say Staffordshire leaders. The warning follows increasing numbers of people congregating in areas such as Cannock Chase and other country parks – despite car parks and facilities being closed. Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: "I understand why people are anxious to get out in the fresh air, but increasingly we are seeing more people in groups, or in close proximity to strangers at places such as Cannock Chase. The car parks are closed as part of the guidance on social distancing and unnecessary travel, but there are regular reports, and pictures on social media, of people close together where they’re parking on roads, for example, and it’s worrying. Many people have and are continuing to make a lot of sacrifices during this crisis to reduce both the infection rate and the pressure on the NHS and the vast majority of us are horrified at the idea that if people start mingling again before the guidance is eased we run the risk of a second spike in the number of infections and an extended or second period of lockdown.” Visitor centres, toilets, cafes, children’s play areas, barbecue facilities and car parks at Staffordshire’s country parks have been closed for several weeks. For taking exercise the current Government guidance is: People are allowed out once a day to exercise, for instance for a walk, cycle, or run; Go out alone or with members of your household; Keep at least two metres apart if you encounter other people. In addition people may want to wear gloves when using gates and stiles to reduce the chance of infection and always wash hands for 20 seconds after returning home. Government guidance remains that people should stay local to exercise and it is acceptable to stop briefly if someone has been exercising vigorously enough to need a rest, but it is not permissible to sunbathe or barbecue. As well as there being no reason to barbecue, following recent fires people outdoors are reminded to take great care disposing of matches and cigarettes. Coun Atkins added: "The weather forecast isn’t as good for this weekend as it has been recently and I would ask people to think long and hard before travelling to a country park. Although there’s a lot of talk about how we will come out of lockdown, right now it’s still vital that we show common sense and observe the spirit of the guidelines.” Chief Inspector Becky Hyde, area commander for Cannock Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "The vast majority of people are being really supportive and following social distancing rules and I am thankful to them however there have been some reports where people appear to be ignoring the rules and being inconsiderate to others. “We all recognise that this is a difficult time but it is truly a community effort and each one of us has a vital part to play in preventing the spread of Covid-19.”


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