The City of London Corporation is closing all public facilities on its parks in line with new Government instructions on COVID-19.
The organisation is maintaining public access to its green spaces for residents needing exercise and fresh air, benefitting physical and mental wellbeing. But it is warning the public to stop all non-essential use of public transport and follow Government rules on staying at home.
The Government says you should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
1. Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
2. One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
3. Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
4. Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home
The Government says that even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home - and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household. The City Corporation protects 11,000 acres of green space in the capital, including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest and over 200 smaller sites in the Square Mile. Following new Government advice, it is closing services across its parks, including visitor centres, children’s playgrounds, swimming and catering facilities and toilets to try to limit the spread of COVID19.
The City Corporation is urging people to follow the new measures announced by the Prime Minister last night which include a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.The Government is telling people not to meet friends or family members who do not live with them.If these rules are not followed it says police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.The City Corporation is constantly monitoring the situation across its green spaces during this national emergency, and says people need to change their behaviour to keep everybody safe.
It says it will close gated parks if people do not follow the social distancing advice and avoid unnecessary travel.The City Corporation funds its green spaces with over £29 million a year. They include important wildlife habitats, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.