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Stay home this bank holiday weekend

Residents and visitors are urged to stay at home and avoid visiting the New Forest this bank holiday weekend, in a continuing effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Cllr Barry Rickman, Leader of New Forest District Council said; "This VE day bank holiday weekend, please stay home and continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. It is as important as ever to follow the current government guidance to stay home and save lives. Only travel if it's essential, and if you are leaving your home for exercise once a day, please stay local, use open spaces near to your home and keep a safe 2 metre distance from other people."

"We are carefully watching for announcements from Government as they plan for easing restrictions. Any changes to our services will be only after we have carefully considered the safety of our customers and staff. We'll update you with any changes, but for now, I urge you to enjoy the weekend safely." 

Simon Bryant, Director of Public Health for Hampshire County Council, and spokesperson for the Hampshire and Isle Of Wight Local Resilience Forum said: "The overwhelming majority of local residents continue to observe the stay at home message, but as time goes by we are seeing a small, but increasing number, travelling unnecessarily and going out when they don't need to.

"We know this is hard, and that people are fed up and yearn to go out to spend time with friends and loves ones, but with people still becoming seriously ill and dying from the virus, and with no effective treatment available yet, now is not the time to push the boundaries."

"This bank holiday weekend, please celebrate VE Day at home with your immediate household, and virtually with friends and family - if we all keep going, we can get back to what, or who, we love sooner."

Visitor facilities including public toilets, BBQ areas, car parks, and campsites are closed to meet the government's restrictions to reduce non-essential travel.

New Forest Park Authority said "Thank you to everyone who has supported the New Forest and its communities by not visiting the National Park over the past weeks. Please continue to support us and the efforts of our key workers to protect lives by staying home this VE Day bank holiday."

Despite COVID-19 travel restrictions the New Forest continues to experience significant pressures. Forestry England have reported that over the last four weeks their staff have responded to a wide range of serious incidents across the Forest including fires, vehicles off-roading, large fly-tips, medical emergencies involving cyclists and horse-riders, and wild camping. They have also spoken to hundreds of people asking them not to damage the Forest by parking on verges or by blocking emergency access gates. Forestry England's team continue to work in the Forest, carrying out essential work and helping to protect the Forest's fragile landscape in increasingly challenging circumstances. Ahead of the bank holiday, they have asked the public to help by staying at home and observing social distancing.

Government guidance asks that we stay at home to save lives. This means:
• Only going outside for food or health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
• If you go out, staying two metres (6 feet) away from other people at all times 
• Washing your hands as soon as you get home 
• Not meeting others, even family or friends

See the latest information from government at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For updates on New Forest District Council services see www.newforest.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

Published: 7 May 2020
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