No aspect of life or person has been unaffected by Covid-19 in some way and a year later we are all still under restrictions. From international quarantines to a pint in a pub, travel and leisure have been severely restricted and while some have unfortunately lost jobs and business.
But for most, restrictions have impacted their daily routines and some have found that they have more time than usual and because they cannot mix with others has led to increased public space usage. This has led to a massive increase in littering, damage to footpaths and loss of wildlife habitats in some parks.
Generally, most people are respectful of others but some are not and others might simply be unaware. Some things you can do to responsibly use public spaces during lockdown include:
- Respect parks and people
- Only go out when you need to
- Follow government advice
Common courtesy and thinking about others is the best way to reduce the damage done to public spaces while using parks and recreational areas only when you need them so as to reduce foot traffic and you should always follow any advice given by your local and national government.
Leave It Better Than You Found It
With not much to do and nowhere to go, most people are getting their outside time from a walk in their local, and, sometimes, not local parks and public spaces. Because the food and Hospitality industry is currently closed, set to reopen soon, the amount of foot traffic in local parks has increased significantly. Consequently, this has led to an increase in the problems that come with irresponsible use of these areas.
While littering, dog waste and damage to foliage are always present in parks, the huge increase in the volume of people using these areas has meant that these associated issues have increased exponentially. Parks and public spaces are there for everyone so leaving a space in the manner you would like to find it is the best solution to this.
Always pick up after your dog, always put litter in the bin or take it home and try to stick to footpaths instead of walking around puddles as this does sometimes irreversible damage to grass and foliage. In addition, always dispose of a protective face mask in a responsible manner.
Go Outside Off-Peak
In addition to respecting parks and public spaces in the usual ways, one way to reduce your impact on vulnerable areas during the pandemic is to only use these spaces as and when you need to. At the moment it is unacceptable to arrange meetings with friends multiple times per day in a park. Lockdown measures are in place and you could be fined for overusing parks, especially with multiple people unless they are of your household.
While it is tempting to leave the house, just from the sheer boredom of having nothing to do, you could be contributing to doing more damage to a park if using it more than you should do. Understandably, a dog might need to be taken out a couple of times a day, but a human does not.
Despite warnings from doctors, park and public space overcrowding is still an issue in some areas which is contributing to Covid-19 transmission as well as damaging the environment. Most people have the same idea to go out at the same time, during 12 noon and 4 pm, so try to use parks outside of peak times to limit your impact.
Stay Up to Date and Follow Advice
Since the start of the pandemic, governments all over the world have done their best to keep us informed of what is happening and how to avoid the virus, reduce transmission rates and how to stay isolated properly. All of these measures have been developed with some of the world’s best scientists in accordance with WHO advice.
Social distancing measures, for example, aren’t just a request from the government, they have been legislated because they have been proven to one of the greatest methods of reducing infection rates.
Studies have found that an expelled and infected droplet from the mouth doesn’t travel more than 2 metres in most cases, therefore the 2 metre rule is in place, and just in case a droplet does go further, a face mask will almost certainly block it from touching your face. Combined with hand washing, reduced leaving the house and working from home as much as possible, following all of these guidelines will significantly reduce the risk of contracting the virus.