Coronavirus outbreak 'not a holiday', warns councillor

A warning that the coronavirus outbreak is ‘not a holiday’ has been issued in the lead up to Easter after a minority of people disobeyed Government rules by gathering in parks over the weekend.

According to Cllr Phil Haseler (Con, Cox Green), several people were spending time in the parks and open spaces around Cox Green, with ‘irresponsible’ parents taking children to play areas in some cases.

Cllr Haseler thanked the majority of residents for acting sensibly and responsibly by staying indoors and limiting the spread of the virus, but issued stern advice for those who had been flouting the restrictions.

He said: “This is not a holiday, this is a war with an enemy we cannot see and that does not discriminate. It can take anyone of any age and any class.”

He added: “If you want to save your life and your loved ones’ lives, then adhere to the guidance.

“Your behaviour can actually kill and it can kill loved ones.

“It’s tough, it’s challenging but hopefully we can look back on this in a year’s time and it will be a blip in our lives.”

According to Cllr Haseler, after he received multiple reports of people using the play areas in Cox Green over the weekend, he took it upon himself to put up notices to remind residents that all playgrounds in the borough have been closed down.

On Monday, Cox Green Parish Council also warned residents that the borough’s play areas are closed after receiving reports they had seen ‘considerable use’. Many of the playgrounds are now locked with padlocks.

On Monday, Thames Valley Police revealed that they had stopped several drivers on ‘non-essential’ journeys across the area it covers over the weekend, including one man who was driving to his mother’s house to jet wash her patio.

It warned that fines would be issued to those who continue to disobey the guidance.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, warned that all outdoor exercise could be banned if people continue to flout the rules.

Despite a minority of people going against the guidance, the majority of residents have been behaving responsibly.

Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill), lead member for adult social care, children’s services, health and mental health, said he had received no reports of residents disregarding the guidance in his ward, home to Grenfell Park and Boyn Grove Park.

He said: “We need to send an unequivocal message that people should only be going out for essential reasons.

“The overwhelming majority of people are doing the right thing and that’s a great credit to them.”

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