Guidance for using East Suffolk Council play areas
East Suffolk’s parks and green spaces are great places to exercise and relax. However, it is vital that we respect these spaces and behave appropriately so they can be enjoyed by everyone.
To stop the spread of COVID-19, you must continue to follow the Government’s rules on social distancing.
Keep up to date with the latest coronavirus guidance on accessing green spaces safely from GOV.UK. The changes mean that you can:
- spend time outdoors, including parks, private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people or two different households, following social distancing guidelines
- exercise as often as you wish - following social distancing guidelines
- take part in other outdoor sports and activities, in groups of up to six people, or two household groups, provided you adhere to strict social distancing guidelines
- people who play team sports can meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but they must be in separate groups of no more than six and must be a minimum of 2 metre apart at all times unless from the same household.
- continue to stay local, but you can drive to a green space if absolutely necessary. Please avoid public transport wherever possible and walk or cycle where you can.
Despite these changes to the rules, it’s still possible for the coronavirus to spread from person to person, so please ensure you keep two metres apart wherever possible although 1m may be acceptable of there are other mitigation factors in place such as being back to back or only less than 2m for a very short period of time.
When using East Suffolk’s parks or green spaces, it is vital that you take these steps:
- Do not visit a park if you have any symptoms – fever, coughs, shortness of breath. See NHS guidelines if this applies to you.
- Please behave considerately when using these spaces. For example, Barbecues can cause fires, particularly in dry weather, so should only be used if explicitly allowed.
- There are 57 public toilet facilities across East Suffolk - Public toilet opening times and locations.
- Please consider that people without gardens rely on parks more, if you have a garden, make use of this space for exercise and fresh air.
- To ensure you can continue to observe social distancing, use all areas of the park that remain open, not just the paths, so you can maintain a minimum of at least one metre distance from others.
- If the park is crowded, do not enter if you cannot safely stay at a distance from others.
- Avoid touching surfaces (such as gates or hand-rails) and your mouth and face. Please follow Public Health England advice on hygiene and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
- Keep your dog on a lead to ensure you can safely keep a minimum of two metres away from others.
- Pay attention to instructions provided by Norse including any officials on site. Temporary measures have been put in place to safeguard you.
- Do not use areas of the park that have been closed – these are closed to stop the possible spread of COVID-19 through touching surfaces and keeping a safe distance from others.
- Please take all your litter home with you.
- Do not swim in unauthorised bodies of water such as rivers and lakes. This could put you at risk of diseases, underwater obstructions and the water can be dangerously cold putting you at risk of thermal shock.
East Suffolk District Council is the main provider of play facilities in the local area and is responsible for the development, improvement and maintenance of district owned play spaces.
We also work with parish and town councils, housing associations and local community groups, to assist with the delivery of play facilities.
With the help of the community, we are working towards providing well designed, new play areas while improving existing facilities. Our aim is to meet local needs and to complement neighbouring play areas as well as provide a suitable range of equipment for all ages within a reasonable distance.
Play areas are regularly inspected and risk assessments are made to help maintain the assets in a safe condition. Our Parks Team has a dedicated officer whose job it is to regularly inspect the play areas. During the inspection, safety checks are made on the equipment and the site is examined for other hazards, such as broken glass.
The inspector carries the tools necessary for carrying out routine maintenance and simple repairs immediately. Larger works may require specialist contractors and/or materials and are reported back to the office and programmed accordingly. We also carry out quarterly engineering inspections and commission independent annual inspections.