COVID-19: Are London’s Packed Parks Prepared for Summer?

London has always enjoyed an exceptional quantity of parks and other outdoor spaces but they have become truly vital to the physical and mental health of Londoners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parks provide opportunities to socialise, exercise or simply enjoy some much needed sun and air while continuing to maintain social distancing.

But this unprecedented usage has put strain on parks and has occasionally made social distancing impossible – as seen when Brockwell Park and Victoria Park were forced to close over Easter weekend due to overcrowding.

Closing a park is an absolute last resort but with a predicted spectacular summer ahead of us sure to drive up attendance, how can parks prevent a repeat of Easter?

Here are our recommendations for how parks can manage the challenges of increased attendance while keeping their visitors and wildlife safe:

Will the July 4th lockdown-easing measures reduce pressure on parks?

In their most recent update to COVID-19 social distancing rules, the government announced that pubs, cafes, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and galleries would be permitted to reopen on July 4th as long as social distancing rules, enhanced hygiene procedures and other measures to reduce transmission are in place.

While the options for where people can enjoy their leisure and social activities will significantly increase, it is safe to assume that many people will continue to prefer parks as they provide a safer environment where it is easier to maintain social distancing.

July 4th will also see the relaxing of the 2 metre social distancing rule to “1 metre plus” and permission for two households to meet regardless of size, indoors and out, which will surely increase the size and density of park crowds.

Parks will also continue to be a hub for exercise, as gyms will remain closed with no current timeline for when they might reopen. Use of outdoor gyms installed in parks will be permitted, and we strongly recommend that attendants are in place to ensure such facilities are kept clean and used responsibly.

Security companies have proved essential to the safe management of parks

Many parks will require increased staff in roles that did not exist prior to lockdown if they are to continue to provide a safe environment for their visitors.

At Magenta Security, our contracts with the Royal Parks have expanded during the pandemic, with our security officers providing additional roles to ensure that visitors are abiding by social distancing policies on top of our usual services of locking up and patrolling the parks.

Our security officers have been particularly valuable at entrances and exits, where they manage the flow of foot traffic at what would otherwise be high risk choke points.

If you would like to enquire about our services available to parks while COVID-19 pandemic control measures are in place, please call us on 0800 772 3786.

Magenta Security provide award winning security services throughout the UK. We are in the top 5% of ACS approved contractors and were the first security company in Europe to be awarded ISO 14001 for our environmental management systems.

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