Car parks reopen at Snuff Mills, Eastville and Vassalls parks
CAR parks at Vassals Park, Eastville Park and other areas around Bristol have reopened as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased.
The city council announced the reopening after the Government said it was allowing people to drive anywhere they liked to exercise, as well as sunbathing and picnics, as long as people observe social distancing.
A Bristol City Council spokeswoman said: “We are looking at the other things the Government announced regarding tennis courts and sports facilities.
“We must ensure public health safety first, and a lot of our tennis courts, for example, are not just one individual one, so we need to look at how we do that safely.
“But people will be pleased that they can park in our car parks again.”
At the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March, the council shut all its park car parks, including Oldbury Court Estate, Snuff Mills, Eastville Park and Netham Park.
It refused to reopen them at the end of April despite new police guidelines allowing people to drive to beauty spots to exercise. The local authority insisted at the time that people should exercise locally and avoid non-essential travel.
Neighbouring South Gloucestershire Council is also preparing to reopen some of the public facilities which had to close due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The new rules, which came into force in England on Wednesday, permit people to spend more time outdoors.
It means residents can go to parks and beaches to sunbathe, have a picnic and go fishing.
The guidance says outdoor sports courts can reopen, although the city council spokeswoman said these were currently being reviewed and not reopen immediately.
People can see one person from another household, as long as they continue to stay two metres apart.
Guidance that restricted exercise to once a day has been removed, while there is now no limit on how far people can go to get to the countryside, National Parks and beaches.
It follows scientific advice that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, according to the Government.
However, public transport should be avoided other than for essential journeys, while holidays, overnight stays or visits to the homes of friends and family are still prohibited, unless it is to help a vulnerable person, for medical reasons or to take a child to another household with shared parental responsibilities.
Fines for non-compliance have been increased and now start at £100, which are lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days.
The penalties are doubled on each further repeat offence, up to £3,200.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service