Rushcliffe Borough Council has has now sealed off the play area at Rushcliffe Country Park until further notice. The closure – which came into force at 3pm today (Monday 23rd March) – is in light of the rapid spread of the potentially lethal COVID-19 Coronavirus across our region.
The new restriction is in line with the latest central government attempts to reduce the transmission of the virus. It’s thought the Council’s sudden decision may have been prompted by visitors flocking to our Country Park over a sunny, spring weekend – with many blatantly disregarding the current ‘social distancing’ advice.
Craig Hurst Nolan observed: “Kids all over the playground, teenagers smoking whilst watching kids playing and hundreds of dog walkers taking advantage of the good weather. Really?!? Does anyone care about their health – and the health of others? The human race is being tested in these strange times – and we are failing.”
Hanisha Sethi agreed: “Shocked to see ice cream vendors in Ruddington Country Park this afternoon. Lots of people queuing, mingling and not social distancing!”
A Rushcliffe Borough Council spokesperson said: “Park users and all residents’ health is of paramount importance and we have not taken this decision lightly. For now the main park areas will remain open for physical exercise and dog walking – but please observe social distancing measures to help reduce the transmission of coronavirus by avoiding large gatherings. We will monitor the situation in the coming days and weeks in line with the government’s advice.”
Despite pubs, cafés and many other venues being closed down by the Government on Friday, similar scenes were witnessed throughout the UK during Saturday and Sunday’s spring sunshine – with some families even travelling long distances and gathering at tourist destinations. It prompted The National Trust to close its gated parks and communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, to warn: “We want to live in a free society where we can continue to go about activities whilst following the medical advice – but this is not a game!”
There’s speculation the government’s patience has been tested too far – with Prime Minister Boris Johnson delaying today’s usual daily press conference where he updates the UK on the coronavirus outbreak to hold an urgent COBRA meeting on the COVID-19 crisis.
As the UK death toll rises, Mr Johnson is now widely expected to enforce an Italy-style lockdown across the UK within the next 24 hours to enforce social distancing to try to contain the alarming spread of the Coronavirus. He’s to make a landmark televised statement to the nation at 8.30pm tonight (Saturday 23rd March) from Downing Street, when we’ll find out…
UPDATE TUE 24th MARCH:
Read about the PM’s statement and its impact on Ruddington >>HERE<<.