London Parks and Green Spaces – COVID-19 Guidance

Last updated: 1 June 2020

London’s parks and green spaces are crucial for exercise and mental wellbeing. It's vital that Londoners respect these spaces and behave appropriately so they can be enjoyed by everyone.

To stop the spread of COVID-19, you must continue to follow the Government’s rules on social distancing.

There is now new guidance for using parks and green spaces, published on Monday 1 June. The changes mean that you can:

  • spend time outdoors, including parks, private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines 
  • exercise as often as you wish - following social distancing guidelines
  • take part in other outdoor sports and activities, in groups of up to six people, or household groups, provided you adhere to strict social distancing guidelines 
  • people who play team sports can meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but they must be in separate groups of no more than six and must be 2 metres apart at all times
  • continue to stay local, but you can drive to a green space if absolutely necessary. Please avoid public transport wherever possible and walk or cycle where you can.

Despite these changes to the rules, it’s still possible for the coronavirus to spread from person to person, so please ensure you keep 2 metres apart from anyone that you do not live with. As with before, you still cannot:

  • use an outdoor gym, playground or any other facility that has been closed 
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • gather in a group of more than six (excluding members of your own household).

When using London’s parks or green spaces, it is vital that you take these steps:

  • Do not visit a park if you have any symptoms – fever, coughs, shortness of breath. See NHS guidelines if this applies to you.
  • Please behave considerately when using these spaces. For example, BBQs can cause fires, particularly in dry weather, so should only be used if explicitly allowed.
  • Facilities, such as toilets will be closed for safety reasons so please be considerate to other users.
  • Please consider that people without gardens rely on parks more, if you have a garden, make use of this space for exercise and fresh air. 
  • To ensure you can continue to observe social distancing, use all areas of the park that remain open, not just the paths, so you can maintain 2 metres distance from others.
  • If the park is crowded, do not enter if you cannot safely stay at a distance from others.
  • Consider exercising in quieter, less-used streets. The Mayor is working with TfL and boroughs on Streetspace - a plan to boost walking and cycling spaces across the city. Check your borough website for more details.
  • Avoid touching surfaces (such as gates or hand-rails) and your mouth and face. Please follow Public Health England advice on hygiene and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
  • Keep your dog on a lead to ensure you can safely keep 2 metres away from others.
  • Pay attention to instructions provided by parks services including any officials on site. Temporary measures have been put in place to safeguard you.
  • Do not use areas of the park that have been closed– these are closed to stop the possible spread of COVID-19 through touching surfaces and keeping a safe distance from others.
  • Please take all your litter home with you.
  • Do not swim in unauthorised bodies of water such as rivers and lakes. This could put you at risk of diseases, underwater obstructions and the water can be dangerously cold putting you at risk of thermal shock.  

Some boroughs, and parks services will continue to keep some parks facilities closed to the public. They are best placed to make those difficult decisions based on their understanding of local circumstances. Please see your local borough website for details, you can find your local borough website by using this online tool.

Many other outdoor spaces are still open. But in some spaces, such as canal towpaths for example, it may be difficult to maintain the recommended distance from other users, so please try to avoid these areas and choose places where you can exercise safely.

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