Published: Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Oxford City Council would like to remind residents to stay at home and help save lives.

Recognising the importance that open spaces can play in daily exercise and mental wellbeing, all of Oxford City Council's parks will remain open over the Easter break for essential daily exercise.

Under the current Government guidelines people are permitted to exercise once a day, either alone or with members of their immediate household, but all other gatherings in the parks of more than two people are banned.

Social distancing, as set out by the Government, is absolutely crucial so people must stay at least two metres apart at all times.

Currently, and over Easter, all playgrounds and kiosks in the parks are closed. Public toilets and sports courts, including tennis and multi-use games areas in our parks are also closed. In addition, the public is also asked not to use outdoor gym equipment as this could pose a health risk.

Thames Valley Police will continue to work with us to ensure that the Government guidelines are adhered to.

"Our parks provide an essential exercise space in the city, never more so than during the current crisis, so we want to keep them open. But this places a responsibility on users to keep to the rules and adhere to government advice.

"You must keep two metres away from those who you do not live with to prevent the spread of the virus. Gatherings of more than two people are banned under the new exercise rules. Similarly, the Government advises not to meet up with friends or organise social gatherings. As soon as you re-enter your home, remember to wash your hands for the safety of everyone in your household.”

"Keep to the rules and help us keep the parks open for the benefit of all."

Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for Healthy Oxford

"Any relaxation now means we are giving Covid 19 the edge. If we stick to the rules and stay indoors we can start to win the national battle against this virus. If we become lax we will pay the price locally and nationally later in the spring.

“I appreciate how difficult this is. We’ve have had a winter in which flooding and rain was rarely off our radar and we looked forward to the arrival of spring. Now it is here and we can’t fully appreciate it. However staying indoors is a small price to pay compared to the alternative. This really is about saving lives and protecting the NHS, it cannot be said often enough.

“Please maintain social distancing, only go outdoors for exercise once a day or for essentials such as shopping or medical needs and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Easter is just like any other day to Covid-19 and if we give it an inch it will take a mile. Let’s not take that risk.”

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health

"As the Easter weekend approaches, I would like to remind the public that those wishing to exercise once a day should use the green spaces close to their homes and avoid areas which are expected to be busy.

“Please use these public spaces responsibly; I appreciate that the weather is expected to be pleasant over this weekend, however picnics, sunbathing and social gatherings are not allowed.

“Thank you to the majority who are following the Government guidelines, you are helping to stop the transmission of the virus and ultimately saving lives. Those who choose not to comply will be dealt with by my officers accordingly.”

Superintendent Joe Kidman, Commander of Oxford Local Policing Area

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