Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on our lives.
Throughout the pandemic, parks and public spaces have been a blessing; places where we can be sociably safe around each other and where we can enjoy the world around us beyond the confines of our socially distanced or isolated homes.
Being safe in parks is possible as long as you follow the simple rules of maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, washing your hands thoroughly when you can and wearing a mask in busy areas.
If you are visiting a park for exercise, walking your dog or just to feel the sun and wind on your face, please respect others, take any litter home and share your enjoyment with us on our social media pages on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook - GoParksLondon
Here are a few of the answers to the most common questions we've received on the panemic:
Can I still volunteer in parks?
Some limited volunteerring is still possible but group activities are not allowed. Volunteer organisers must ensure Covid precautions are in place to safeguard both volunteers and park visitors. A thorough risk assessment must be conducted and consideration given to lone working policies. Two individuals can meet outdoors, so in theory a two-person team observing Covid precautions could volunteer to work on essential maintenance or litter management.
Can I use exercise or play equipment?
Some parks have closed their facilities, others remain open. If you are worried about touching equipment leave it alone or wipe down with antibacterials (please take any cloths or empty bottles home to dispose of safely). Do NOT use bleach as this can be harmful to people and wildlife.
Will the park toilets be open?
There is no pan-London rule on this. Some council's and park managers have closed public toilets as they could not ensure facilities were cleaned often enough to eradicate the virus. You can try checking on LockdownLoo.com but it's probably best to assume toilets will be closed.
I run a Park Friend's group, can we organise events in parks?
From 5 Nov 2020 through until 2 Dec 2020, England is under Lockdown with everyone urged to stay at home. Individuals can meet ONE other person outdoors, but not in private gardens. This means two volunteers could work in parks or green spaces, perhaps delivering an online event, but events where people physically gather together are not possible.
You must ensure you are operating within the law and that you meet all the required Covid precautions and usual Health and Safety requirements. You can find the latest Government guidance here.
Once England's Lockdown 2.0 period is over (from 2 Dec 2020), we will "probably" go back to the Covid restrictions where people can gather outside in groups of six from different households. This is speculation and should be double-checked. Organisers or group leaders are not included in the six, so you may see a group of seven or eight where organisers are leading a walk, talk or othger relevant activity. Typical volunteer roles include watering plants, litter-picking, general maintenance, nature-walks and talks, exercise or art classes. Fundraising events involving gatherings of people are not allowed.
Organisers of any activity must ensure any equipment is sanitised and not shared. Details of participants must be recorded for Track and Trace. This can be done as a written list or you can generate a customised QR-Code linked with the NHS Track and Trace App. You can print off copies and participants can scan it on arrival. To generate the QR code you will need your email address and the location of your actvity/event.
Who can volunteer?
Anyone can volunteer. Some work might be possible from home and need not involve going outdoors or meeting others. You can volunteer outside your home if:
- you follow the social distancing guidance
- no one in your household has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- no one in your household has tested positive for coronavirus
If you are vulnerable but decide to volunteer outside your home, make sure that:
- the volunteering organisation does a risk assessment
- you can work in a separate area away from other people (suitably distanced and supported)
If you have coronavirus symptoms
Do not volunteer outside your home if you have coronavirus symptoms or if you have tested positive for coronavirus. You must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date you started having symptoms or from the day you tested positive - whichever is the latest.