The impact of COVID-19
Our Chair Terrie Rintoul on the impact of the coronavirus on our parks
There is no doubt that we are living through unprecedented times and although government guidelines are constantly changing, as I write this piece we are being encouraged to take physical exercise once a day and public parks are remaining open for this purpose.
However, it is important to point out that if you or someone you live with are suffering from any of the symptoms of the virus such as a high temperature or a new continuous cough, you must stay at home and self-isolate.
So, for those of us not suffering, for now at least, a walk in the park seems the ideal option.
There are certainly few better places to walk than the beautiful parks in Meads and I am delighted that they are currently staying open. But for this to continue we must follow social distancing guidelines - which is to stay two metres away from others – and this applies to all of us whether we are walking alone or in groups. And talking of groups, currently, all gatherings in parks of more than two people are banned.
Children’s play areas within parks are closed too so this applies to the one in The Helen Garden. The public conveniences there are also closed, and the kiosk has yet to open for the season.
On the plus side, however, The Helen Garden is the biggest of our parks so there is plenty of space to walk and enjoy that fantastic sea view. But the social distancing guidelines are key. If it looks busy and you can’t guarantee that you will be able to stay two metres away from the next person, best to leave and go home.
One last word: Boris Johnson himself warned against the misconception that fresh air provides some kind of natural immunity – this is not true, and the virus can be passed between people even if you are outside. ‘It is crucial for health, physical and mental well-being,’ said the PM of going to parks. ‘But please follow (social distancing) advice and don’t think that fresh air in itself automatically provides some immunity.’
I never thought, just a few weeks ago, that I would be writing a piece like this for the Friends. All I was hoping for was that it would finally stop raining. Still, the spring has arrived at last. Let’s keep cheerful and try to get through it together. In the meantime enjoy our parks and stay safe.
Here are some photographs of our beautiful parks taken by Friends members Caroline Poulton and Chris Neighbour. I hope you enjoy them.