Edinburgh green spaces stay open, but council chiefs warn people to observe social distancing

Edinburgh's parks are staying open - but people must observe social distancingEdinburgh's parks are staying open - but people must observe social distancing
Edinburgh's parks are staying open - but people must observe social distancing | JPIMedia
Car parks closed to discourage driving to get exercise

EDINBURGH’S parks and green spaces are staying open during the coronavirus crisis – but council chiefs are stressing the importance of maintaining social distancing and following Government guidelines.

Parks in some parts of the country have been shut amid concerns about large numbers of people descending on them.

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But council leader Adam McVey said: “We are keeping green spaces open where they are suitable for people to go and exercise. We’ve deliberately done that to make sure people have the scope because in some of our urban areas the park is potentially the only green space that’s there and we very much encourage people to use them within the Government guidelines.”

Government guidelines allow one outing for exercise per day - walking, running or cycling - alone or with members of your household. But people are warned they must observe social distancing guidance and keep at least two metres away from anyone else.

The guidelines also tell people using parks and green space to:

Avoid touching surfaces and use gloves or hand gel if you need to open gates

Don’t stop to eat or drink

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Keep dogs on a lead or under close control and don’t let them approach other people

Take your litter and dog poo bags home with you

And people are also told to stay local and not get in a car to drive to other areas. All council car parks associated with Edinburgh’s parks and green spaces have been closed to discourage people driving there and avoid them being too close to each other in the car parks themselves.

Play parks, mixed use games area courts, outdoor exercise equipment and skateparks have also been closed.

Cllr McVey said: “We all need to play our part in controlling the spread of coronavirus and we can do that by sticking to the measures put in place by the Government.

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“It‘s so important right now for both our physical health and mental wellbeing that we stay active and spend some time outdoors once a day. We’re the greenest city in the UK and we’ve got 144 parks across the Capital that can accommodate lots of people walking, running, cycling or playing without being within two metres of others.

“Our playparks and outdoor gym equipment might be off limits for now, but our grass and woodlands are still open for a walk or run. We just ask that you be sensible and considerate of others, follow the rules and exercise close to your home. Please don’t travel elsewhere to access the outdoors. We know it’s not easy but it’s the right thing to do and the best way for us to control the spread of the virus."

Depute council leader Cammy Day said: “We’re all adapting to significant changes in our day-to-day lives, and it will take time to adjust to this new norm. We must all make sure that we get out into nature for some fresh air, even if it’s just to clear our heads for 30 minutes from the stresses of isolation.

“If you live close to a park or woodland, the open space is still available to you, but please do not allow children to play on equipment and please observe social distancing protocols.

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“I understand the frustrations you will feel, especially when trying to keep young people entertained in these extraordinary times, but everyone must play by the rules. Of course, it is a minority who are not following the guidance, but right now the damage that can be done by a few is huge. Everyone’s help and understanding is essential at this challenging time. It is only by us all working together, following Government and Public Health advice, that we can defeat this, save lives and protect the NHS.”

Other measures implemented by the council to help limit the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Edinburgh include the suspension of pay and display parking charges and the closure of culture venues .

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