As we enter the second week of the new national Coronavirus ‘lockdown’, concerns are being expressed by users of Rushcliffe Country Park that ‘social distancing’ and other COVID-safe guidelines are not being followed.
It follows reports of crowds flocking there last weekend just as if it was ‘business as usual’. One park user, calling himself DT, tweeted: “Nobody is isolating. Went for a walk at Ruddington park yesterday. Must have been at least 300 people on the park. 2 burger vans and a ice cream truck in full operation. No chance lockdown is ending after 28 days!” Faye Burton added: “Then they wonder why the infection rate is high in the young?! Schools abide by the rules, kids and parents on parks don’t!”
Partly in response to such social media comments, Rushcliffe Borough Council has issued an appeal to residents to use its parks, open spaces and play areas at quieter times of the week and weekend. This is to avoid overcrowding and ensure that all of us continue to play our part in reducing transmission of COVID-19 whilst still getting our permitted daily exercise.
The authority says it’s aware of how popular such sites are across the Borough at this difficult time, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays. Therefore it’s asking local people and visitors “…to adjust their regular routines to return at quieter times should they find facilities already busy during the current national restrictions.”
It urges that all visitors to the Green Flag Award winning park also follow the on-site signage to socially distance from others at all times. We should also wash our hands before and immediately after visiting, and only one parent or support bubble member should accompany a child at any play area. No one should visit a site if they feel unwell.
The Council is defending keeping Rushcliffe Country Park and its car park open. It says this is “…in line with current central government advice as the authority recognises the important physical and mental benefits of fresh air and exercise” – although it advises it has now closed the 4X Bike Track. The skate park was already closed due to safety concerns and is awaiting replacement. The outdoor gym equipment is also unavailable again, as per government guidance.
Village resident, Paul Witney, comments: “Rushcliffe should close the play area like they did before.” Gwen Eyre adds: “There’s so many other things for kids to do at the Country Park, too.”
However, Rushcliffe Borough Council reassures us: “Sanitisation of facilities at all play parks takes place routinely each day. Any feedback should be sent to email@example.com.”