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Warning over social distancing in Slough’s parks

Published: 26 March 2020

Residents are being warned to stay at home after irresponsible families were seen using play areas and meeting friends in parks during the coronavirus public health crisis.

Thames Valley Police officers dispersed crowds of people meeting in Salt Hill Park where families were allowing children to use playground and exercise equipment.

Police officers described the scene as “like a bank holiday” as different families and households were socialising and using the skate park and cricket crease.

When asked why they were out of their homes some people’s response was simply “we don’t care”.

However, the council and the rest of the community do care that people are out of their homes unnecessarily and they could then potentially catch COVID-19 and, or infect others, including their loved ones.

Police have the authority to issue unlimited fines to people flouting the law starting at £30.

All play areas, green gyms and leisure areas are closed after a direct order from the government as the country attempts to fight the deadly virus.

The council’s parks are available to allow residents access to gorgeous green spaces during the one time per day they are allowed out of their homes for essential exercise, whether that be a for a walk or run.

The government has told people to stay in their homes unless they are shopping for essential food or medicine, for essential travel to work, essential exercise which should be limited to once a day and essential care for the vulnerable.

Josie Wragg, chief executive, said: “We are dismayed that some residents think they are exempt from the government rulings to stay at home and think they won’t get, or won’t pass on, this illness. They could catch this horrible virus and pass it on to their family and friends.

“Our amazing green parks are open to be used by our residents to take essential exercise but our green gyms and play parks are firmly closed.

“However, if a small minority of people do not respect everyone’s right to stay safe then we will need to close our green parks too.

“Police have been given new powers by the government to disperse and fine people who are flouting these really important COVID-19 rules. We ask residents to respect them for the good of our whole community.”