Statement from Cllr Stephen Cowan on Hammersmith & Fulham parks
It really is understandable how the surreal nature a pandemic means many people are still coming to terms with the huge changes we all need to make to our lives. Last weekend, despite the parks police best attempts to warn people, the COVID-19 contagion was inadvertently passed onto thousands of others by people socialising in Hammersmith & Fulham’s parks during that beautiful weather. For that reason, our parks were closed on Sunday night for public health reasons.
Yesterday, the government’s new emergency laws came into force which introduce a series of restrictions on people’s movement and gatherings and give the police new powers to enforce the new laws. People are now obliged to stay in their homes and only leave for exceptional reasons which you can read about here. One of the exceptions is: “to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household”. Because of these new laws, our parks can now re-open and will do so at 2pm today.
We are two weeks away from a surge in cases and roughly a month away from the expected super-surge. As you might imagine, the NHS implore us to do everything we can to encourage people to stay in their homes and not add to their already intolerable burden.
The disease is easily spread in a number of ways when people come into contact with others from outside their immediate household. It transmits by touching, from coughs or sneezes, and even from the tiny mist everyone generates when they speak. A big problem is many fit and healthy people show few symptoms but if just one fit, but COVID-19 infected, person returns home and passes it onto one or more vulnerable relatives there’s a possibility they could accidentally kill them.
We can protect ourselves and those we love by following the government’s new laws. Staying a car length away from people outside our immediate household will help keep coronavirus at bay.
I appreciate how tough this period is. Worry about our friends and family and anxiety about how we will all cope stuck at home. Our team at Hammersmith & Fulham is working all waking hours and seven days a week to get us ready. I am extremely grateful to our partners in the NHS, police and emergency services, charities, residents’ groups, our two MPs, and all the volunteers across our borough.
We’re determined to do everything we can to keep people safe and that all of us get through this together. Please take care and very best wishes to all.
Keep your distance. Stay well.
28 March 2020