Coronavirus: Warning as play areas and outdoor gym still being used at Star Lane Park, Canning Town
PUBLISHED: 18:00 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:01 26 March 2020
The public have put themselves and others at risk by using play areas and an outdoor gym left unfenced off by the council.
That’s the message from John Collins of Avondale Court, Canning Town, who has seen parents pushing children on swings and groups of youngsters up to 18 strong playing basketball in Star Lane Park.
This is in spite of the government ordering such places to close on March 23.
John said: “I’ve seen doctors and nurses pleading with people [to follow social distancing measures]. This virus is a killer and people still need to learn that. It’s scary what’s going on here.”
However, Newham Council has denied Star Lane Park’s facilities remain open.
A spokeswoman said: “Star Lane Park is officially open as are other parks in Newham. However, facilities such as the play area are closed and residents should be avoiding these areas at this time.
“Any residents walking in our other parks, should follow the guidance issued by the council and the government.”
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Playgrounds and outdoor gyms should all be closed under the latest government plans to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Newham advice on visiting parks:
We are encouraging our residents to think carefully where they go and prioritise avoiding crowds.
Irresponsible behaviour in our parks is a worry for many of our residents.
As soon as there are large numbers in a park, it becomes harder to maintain a reasonable distance.
Residents enjoy our parks and during these times, we would ask that everyone respects the need to social distance. In addition, here are some other recommendations:
Please DO NOT visit a park if you have any symptoms such as a fever, coughs, shortness of breath.
Observe social distancing of at least two metres apart from other people and use all areas of the park to space out to maintain an appropriate distance from others.
If the park is too crowded do not enter if you cannot safely observe social distancing, come back later or go elsewhere.
Consider if you can visit your park at different times to allow parents, children and older people to use it during the day.
Follow Public Health England and NHS advice on hand washing and wash your hands when you get home.
If you are walking your dog (s), keep them on leads at all times.
Please do not use areas of the park that have been closed such as play areas – these are closed for your safety and best avoided. Facilities which are closed, will be clearly signposted.
All gatherings of more than two people in public, apart from people living together, have also been banned.
On March 24 and 25, John telephoned Newham to let them know people were still gathering and using Star Lane’s facilities, but one call handler said he needed to call the police. However, the Met only has powers to disperse groups of people. He emailed Newham mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz, today (March 26).
“I’ve seen parents pushing children on swings. If one person [with the virus] touched that swing, more people are going to catch it,” John said.
He urged Newham to fence off the play areas, outdoor gym and football pen to deter people from gathering and potentially spreading the virus.
By contrast, the City of London’s West Ham Park fenced off its playground and outdoor gym following prime minister Boris Johnson’s press conference on March 23.
Mr Johnson instructed the country that shops selling non-essential items, outdoor gyms and playgrounds were to be closed “immediately”.
“If you don’t follow the rules, the police will have the powers to enforce them through fines and dispersing gatherings,” the PM said.