The Green Party has pressed the UK Government to help local authorities keep parks open this Easter bank holiday weekend.
The party is calling on the government to deploy local authority staff in non-essential roles to ensure social distancing is maintained. It has also suggested that if over-crowding within these parks poses a risk to public health, then more green spaces such as 300,000 acres of golf courses should be opened.
After Brockwell Park was closed in London last weekend by Lambeth Council after people were seen sunbathing there and Health Secretary Matt Hancock highlighted possible banning of outdoor exercise, concern has arisen over whether parks will remain open during the bank holiday.
Co-leader of the Green Party Jonathan Bartley considers that it would be a discriminatory decision to close parks to those who do not have a private garden in which to access green space, stating:
Where are people with no gardens supposed to go for their exercise?"Considering the importance of outdoor spaces for the British public Bartley commented:Bank holiday weekend is coming up and it is absolutely vital that people continue to follow the public health advice on social distancing. However, it is also crucial that people have access to green spaces to go for their daily exercise.Many of these parks serve people who don’t have any other access to an outdoor space. It is outrageous that government and local councils would discriminate against people who don’t have any other choice than using their publicly owned park.There is an inherent inequality in the fact that people who do not have gardens are being told they can no longer even go to their parks to exercise over this Easter bank holiday weekend. Where are people with no gardens supposed to go for their exercise in urban areas where they cannot easily or safely socially distance on the streets?Government should be working with councils to help them do everything they can to monitor parks and ensure people are keeping to the social distancing rules. This way, we can be sure to keep the parks open and protect people’s health from coronavirus.