Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on society and the cost of addressing it will likely remain with us way past the discovery of any vaccination. Parks, which offered sanctuary and space for physical and mental wellbeing for many during lockdown, will most likely suffer budget cuts.
The UK Government promised to support parks and insisted they should remain open. Council's have been left facing large bills from the vast amounts of litter collected and processed; in some cases this was three times or more than the usual quantities. This is on top of already squeezed budgets, which had seen staffing for parks maintenance cut to a minumum.
Some parks have yet to re-open toilets and may struggle to do so due to a lack of resources. Re-opening all facilities will bring additional cost to continue to manage physical distancing and hygiene standards.
The UK Government has issued guidance on opening playgrounds and green gyms.
Physical distancing is addressed through temporary fencing, signage and screens where possible, but in reality relies on users to act responsibly and self-police interactions with others.
GoParks.London offers this expert guidance from Dr. Bharat Pankhania, Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School.
In a 23 minute presentation, Dr Bharat covers the origins of coronavirus and why we need to address our interactions with nature. The impact of COVID-19 and how it compares with other pandemics. How COVID-19 can spread, indoors and out. Toilets and the importance of disposable paper towels. Future control policies and maintaining basic hygiene.