PEOPLE enjoying this week’s hot weather at Staffordshire’s country parks should use common sense, observe social distancing and stay safe.
That’s the message from Staffordshire County Council regarding use of its country parks and green spaces across the county.
Not only are people being asked to keep complying with the Government’s social distancing rules, but to follow the countryside code and not to go swimming in open water.
After the prolonged dry weather over recent months, people are also being reminded not to have barbecues, light fires, or dispose of cigarettes carelessly as there remains a strong risk to people, property and wildlife from fire.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Communities, said: “Our country parks are beautiful places and we want people to be able to enjoy them safely. But it’s everyone’s responsibility to use common sense and follow the advice.
“With warmer weather predicted over the coming days, our sites are likely to become very busy and we would ask people to find another place if a car park is crowded and not to park on road verges, or block access that may be needed in an emergency. And with the ground still very dry, we’re asking people not to have BBQs or light fires and be careful when disposing of cigarettes.”
Visitors to county council country parks are also asked to keep dogs on leads to help comply with social distancing and consider wearing gloves for handling gates and other ‘touch points’.
Country park toilets remain closed while extra hygiene and social distancing arrangements are put in place and visitors should plan accordingly. Visitor centres and children’s playgrounds will also remain closed for the time being although cafes at Cannock Chase and Chasewater are open for takeaway only.
Coun Heath also warned against the dangers of open water swimming at Chasewater and elsewhere. She said:
“Temperatures are forecast to be in the late 20s this week and we know there is always a temptation for people to cool off in open water.
“No matter how confident someone is about their swimming ability, I would urge them not to swim in open water. Water can cause cold water shock in even the strongest swimmers and there can be strong currents beneath the surface, as well as weeds, branches and other obstructions that you can be caught in.”
People can get further advice on using the county council’s country parks at www.staffordshire.gov.uk
The latest Coronavirus advice is also available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing#visiting-public-places