Council Leader’s plea for people to follow new measures

26/03/2020, PR-9358

​The Leader of Wakefield Council has today (26 March) issued an urgent plea to residents visiting the district’s parks following concerns about large numbers of people congregating at Pugneys Country Park yesterday.

Cllr Denise Jeffery said: “We are now in a situation that we have never before experienced.

“Earlier this week the Government announced strict new measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus and reduce the pressure on the NHS and to save lives. We absolutely have to support these new restrictions.

“Our normal behaviour simply cannot continue. I understand that it can be hard to accept, but we must. The lives of everyone in this district rely on us following the stay at home and social distancing measures. Please do not underestimate the dreadful impact of ignoring them.”

The current Government advice on social distancing is to only go outside for food, health reasons or work where absolutely necessary and if you are going outside to exercise, stay two metres away from other people at all times.

In support of the Government’s measures announced on Monday evening (24 March), the Council closed all play grounds but in line with Government guidance kept parks and country parks open to support the important need for people to have the opportunity to exercise outdoors once a day, in line with the new rules.

Wakefield Council are closely monitoring all the country parks, especially Pugneys, over the next 48 hours. If concerns continue the Council will have no option but to close or restrict access to some or all of these sites as required.

The café facilities at all Council-owned country parks were closed last week, ahead of the Government requiring non-essential retail shutdown and café/restaurant closures.

Andrew Balchin, Acting Chief Executive, added: “The Government’s new restrictions currently encourage us to keep parks open, but we are asking residents to use these responsibly and strictly in line with Government imposed social distancing advice. This is for the good of everyone’s health and controlling the pandemic.

“We urge everyone to be responsible, do not take un-necessary journeys and follow the Government’s clear advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

People can find details of local walks on the Wakefield Council website at http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/sport-health-and-leisure/sport-and-activities/walking to help avoid the need to travel to parks.

Cllr Denise Jeffery
Cllr Denise Jeffery