Residents from across Dorset are being urged by BCP Council, Dorset Council and Dorset Police to stay at home over the Easter break, with any exercise taken directly from their front doors.
Leader of Dorset Council, Cllr Spencer Flower, said: “We know how fortunate we are to live in a beautiful part of the country but our enjoyment of that, for now, will have to wait. Our beaches, parks, beauty spots and countryside will all still be there for us to enjoy when this crisis is over. There will be more summers, more bank holidays, and more sunny days in the future, but now is not the time for venturing out, driving to the places we know and love.”
Cllr Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council, said: “Many people are using their daily exercise time to explore their own neighbourhoods on foot, looking out for rainbows or teddy bears in windows, and discovering an amazing community spirit right on their doorsteps. This is a great way to get to know your local area better, which I hope will help to build local support networks – a wave from a window or smile at a front door today could be the foundation for closer communities in the future.”
Chief Constable James Vaughan, of Dorset Police, said: “I fully appreciate the impact the Government restrictions are having on us all. However, we must not lose sight of why they are in place – to reduce the spread of the disease, protect the NHS and save lives.
“There has been much discussion around what the legislation does and doesn’t specifically prohibit. The legal aspects of the legislation are based upon whether a person’s actions are reasonable or not.
“The key to making this work for everyone in Dorset is for everyone to be reasonable. If you can exercise with a run or a walk near your home, it is reasonable for you to do so. Our interpretation is that it is not reasonable, for the majority, to drive to a specific place such as a beach or beauty spot. It is also not within the spirit of what we are trying to achieve, regardless of whether that is “lawful” or not. Please stay at home.
“I would like to reiterate my thanks to the public for working with us and supporting our efforts to enforce the new Government restrictions. Our Dorset communities have been fantastic at following these rules and I am certain our combined effort in this county will make a difference to combatting this terrible disease.”
Local people can sign up for updates from their local council’s that include latest advice along with a whole host of ideas and activities to do safely during the covid19 outbreak. Sign up now at www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/emailnews and www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/e-news. A message from Chief Constable James Vaughan, on behalf of the whole of Dorset, has been posted to YouTube.
Alongside the appeal to local people, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s Coast with the Most initiative and Visit Dorset are also asking potential visitors to avoid the county for now, and instead plan their visit for a future date.