News / coronavirus

Bristol’s park facilities to close in face of coronavirus threat

By ellie pipe, Monday Mar 23, 2020

Mayor Marvin Rees says council-owned playgrounds, toilets and park vendors are to close immediately as he urged people to stay at home.

The clampdown comes following a weekend that saw people flock en masse to the city’s outside public spaces, meaning social distancing guidelines in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak were not being adequately adhered to.

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Bristol City Council’s parklands won’t be physically fenced off, but all facilities within them will be locked and Rees has reiterated his call for people to stay at home for anything other than essential activities.

In a video released on Monday afternoon, the mayor said: “As of today, we are closing all park facilities – that’s play parks, toilets and food vendors.

“We know that fresh air and leisure are important to people, but we must do this to protect our population’s health and take the scale of action in the face of COVID-19 that we must take.”

He added that the council’s leisure facilities and markets are also closing.

Speaking to Emma Britton on BBC Radio Bristol in the morning on Monday, Rees said he would welcome more stringent messaging from national government in the face of the pandemic.

“We just really need this week, as a city and a city region, to get on top of this challenge and to really understand the seriousness of this request for people to socially distance and avoid all unnecessary contact and to stay at home for all but essential activities,” said Rees.

“We would really welcome more stringent messaging from national government. This is not something we can gamble with, this is not something we can afford to make mistakes with and we really need to step up the level of instruction coming from central government about how we manage our space.”

Read more: Marvin Rees: ‘Stay home and save lives’

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