Council Leader reminds people to observe social distancing in green spaces

27 March 2020

Parks and open spaces across west Cheshire remain open for residents to take daily permitted exercise but they must observe social distancing, avoid meeting in groups, avoid touching surfaces and wash their hands when back home. 

Whilst the vast majority of people are keeping to these rules to protect others, a small minority aren’t observing the processes in place to keep people safe. 

The Council is receiving a number of complaints about a lack of social distancing on the public rights of way network and parks. 

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “It was with dismay that I was told about an area in the borough being especially busy yesterday with people walking, jogging, cycling, sitting in the sun, fishing, there was a group of boys with a football, people with picnic chairs and dog walkers. 

“This isn’t a holiday; we are trying to protect our loved ones from this virus and a minority are not respecting the very important guidance that will get us through this. 

“I know this is new to people, none of us have ever experienced a situation like this before but please play your part to keep yourselves and others safe. If people continue to ignore the rules about social distancing, these treasured facilities will be closed.”

Following reports that dogs are running around and owners breaching social distancing to retrieve them, dog walkers are asked to keep their dogs on a lead unless they have excellent recall; especially where space is limited such as in parts of the Wirral Way.

The Government has stopped public gatherings of more than two people, except for members from the same household.  Cheshire Police and other agencies now have additional powers to enforce the new measures and will be issuing fines if people do not comply. 

Added Councillor Gittins: “Please stay at home, to protect the NHS and help save lives.  I know this is a challenging time for all of us, the Council, our partners and over 1,300 local volunteers are working around the clock doing everything that we can to support you.”

This is not advice or guidance but a set of rules that all residents are expected to follow. Residents need to act on these new measures now.

These changes will be reviewed by the Government in three weeks but may continue for a longer period, depending on their impact.

For the latest Government information, visit the GOV.UK website.

Cheshire West and Chester Council updates on Coronavirus can be found on the Council's website.

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