County health chiefs warn: The virus is still out there

By Graham Hill

1st Apr 2021 | Local News

Leicester's public health boss has warned 'The virus is still out there' after people flocked to parks across the county as outdoor meet-up restrictions were relaxed.

Crowds have gathered at parks and open areas as Covid rules changed to mean that groups of six, or two households can now spend time together outdoors – in public parks or private gardens.

Leicester's director of public health, Professor Ivan Browne, said: "It's great that we can now meet friends and family outside and it's inevitable that lots of people are going to be heading for parks in this great weather.

"Although meeting people outside is much safer than meeting indoors – which is still not allowed between households – people still need to take sensible precautions to avoid catching the virus.

"Social distancing should still be observed, so maintain a distance between people you don't live with, and keep apart from other groups of people.

"The virus is still out there. Things are improving but we're not out of this yet, so it's important that we all keep following the rules to stay safe and to enable the further easing of restrictions that we are all looking forward to."

His warning was echoed by his county counterpart, Mike Sandys who added: "Restrictions are starting to ease, but people need to remain vigilant as we approach the Easter break and to stay outside when meeting others.

"I would again encourage people to take up the offer of a vaccine when it's offered, if people have symptoms to have a test and maintain hands, face, space and to ensure fresh air as well."

Some parks were closed in Nottingham after what the city council leader described as a 'frenzy'.

Large groups met at parks across the city, with fights reporting breaking out and lots of litter being left behind.

Victoria Hudson, parks and open spaces operational manager for the city council said: "We know how important parks are to people at the moment.

"We expected to see more rubbish on the parks when the good weather arrived and we're prepared for it, but we were still shocked by the amount of litter left behind on Monday.

"All we ask is for people to put their litter in bags, tie them up and put them in a bin, or next to it if the bin is full. Our staff empty every bin in every park at least once a day and sometimes twice. If they have to spend hours picking litter off the floor this seriously hampers them."

She added: "If people really want to help, if the bins are full they could bag up their litter and take it home with them. And if they're passionate about their local park they could join our band of local environmental volunteers who have continued to do great work on our parks throughout the pandemic."


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