County Durham residents are being ordered to avoid fresh air and human contact over the bank holiday weekend.

People are “advised” to stay indoors where possible, unless buying essentials (no biscuits, now) or getting exercise. And if you disobey this “advice”, you’ll be punished.

While the county’s parks and beaches remain open, those wishing to exercise are ordered to socially distance and remain two metres (six feet) away from people outside their household.

Although new government rules permit meeting up with only one person from outside the household, social distancing must still be observed at all times, or else.

Cafés and visitor centres at the Council’s Hardwick, Riverside and Wharton Parks, and The Lodge visitor centre at its Blackhill and Consett Park continue to be closed until further notice.

Amanda Healy said: “We know how important it is to be able to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. However, it is so important that we continue to stay safe and limit our journeys for the safety of everyone.

“In order to slow the spread of coronavirus, it is vital that we remain two metres or six feet away from anyone who is not in our household and that we continue to wash our hands as frequently as we can for twenty seconds each time. Even if we are meeting one person from outside our household, social distancing must be observed.

“The virus can still be easily transmitted and it is important that we do all we can to protect ourselves and others from coronavirus. That’s why we should be staying home unless we’re going out for specific reasons set out in law, such as going to work if you cannot work from home, going to the shops, exercising, or leaving for a medical need.”

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Northumbria Water has also noticed some of its sites getting busier in the last week.

David Hall said: “We really want anyone who visits our Waterside Parks and reservoir sites – whether for walking or angling – to have a great time and feel safe. So, with a bank holiday weekend ahead of us, we urge anybody who does visit our sites to do so safely, adhering to the Government’s social distancing measures, as well as to all of our signage to stick to designated footpaths and keep dogs on leads. This is for the safety of all of our visitors and for our teams who work at these sites.

“All visitors, whether they are simply wanting to enjoy a walk around the parks, or enjoy a day’s fishing, should be allowed to do so without having to contend with those who do not wish to observe the rules. So please, be considerate and help them to do so.”

Photo by Mojtaba Ravanbakhsh

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