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Enjoy the great outdoors safely as lockdown restrictions ease

The relaxation of lockdown rules on March 29 has been welcomed as a breath of fresh air.

Up to six people or two families are allowed to meet safely distanced outdoors. Here we explain why remembering hands, face, space and air is vital as we move forward together with cautious confidence.

FAMILY LIFE: Enjoy great days out safely once restrictions begin to lift. (45702471)
FAMILY LIFE: Enjoy great days out safely once restrictions begin to lift. (45702471)

Latest lifting of restrictions

March 29 Step 1 changes allow ...

  • Outdoor gatherings, including gardens, of six people or two households
  • Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis, basketball and open-air swimming
  • Formally organised outdoor sports
  • End of stay at home rule but we should all continue to work from home where possible and minimise journeys
Dr Shaun Fitzgerald (45702515)
Dr Shaun Fitzgerald (45702515)

Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, Director, Centre for Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge. Member UK Government Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

Q: Why is it safer for people to mix outdoors?

A: Small winds deliver fresh air that is less virus-laden. There are also fewer surfaces, especially if you are going for a walk, for you to touch.

Q: Why should we still be strict on hand-washing, masks and distancing rules?

A: They’re easy to follow. I would encourage people to get out but be very astute and remember the messaging.

Professor Brooke Rogers OBE (45702452)
Professor Brooke Rogers OBE (45702452)

Professor Brooke Rogers OBE, Professor of Behaviour Science and Security at King’s College, London.

Q: What would you say to people who are scared to go out?

A: If it feels right to them, in terms of being more cautious, it is sensible, because this isn’t just about the risk of transmission, this is also about how they feel, and anxiety can be incredibly powerful.

Q: What would you say to people who have had the vaccine and think it [the virus] is all over?

A: Hold on a bit longer while we get more vaccinations. It will be safer for everyone. It’s about that collective response that we’re all making sacrifices for one another and that we’re all cheering one another along.

Reaping benefits of return to safe sporting activities

Barrie Watson with wife Caroline (45702465)
Barrie Watson with wife Caroline (45702465)

This sporting life plays a big part in the lives of Barrie and Caroline Watson. The Yorkshire couple, both in their early sixties, welcomed the UK Government’s relaxation of lockdown rules.

Bowling Club secretary Barrie and his wife would normally play in league matches and competitions many of which were cancelled or curtailed during lockdown.

Members were at times allowed to play in specially-devised COVID-safe club contests and practice sessions; and similar procedures are now back in place.

“Bowlers have to pre-book slots on the green, only allowing four people together at once.

“Bowlers also have to sanitise bowls and jacks and socially distance. They are not allowed to shake hands. We also had to restrict use of the clubhouse,” explained Barrie.

He is also a committee member of a cliff -top golf club, where similar safety rules and a track and trace policy are in place.

The couple had to cancel foreign holidays and stage a socially-distanced, outdoor 90th birthday celebration for Barrie’s mum.

Barrie knows the importance of sport to physical and mental health, “it is a massive uplift to be able to mix with friends and enjoy the usual banter that surrounds any sport. We already have many members raring to go, now that rules allow.”

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