The Police may have been open to criticism for using drones to film walkers on the Derbyshire peaks, and for unlawfully telling sunbathers that they can’t sunbathe, but it seems they have learned their lesson as a lighter touch regime starts. (As at 6th April, there is no power to disperse you if you’re sunbathing in a park as long as you’re maintaining the 2m social distancing rule – and that means if you’re with your family, then your family must be 2m apart from everyone else. The draconian powers under the Civil Contingencies Act and the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 do permit the PM, or the relevant Secretary of State to create a statutory power to prevent all park use or prevent sunbathing, but there is no sign of the Secretary of State taking this very controversial and courageous step.
Over the weekend a more tolerant attitude has emerged, as witnessed by ourselves in Broomfield Park, Enfield where the police were permitting park users to sit at least 2m apart and enjoy the sun, even though technically some of the park users sitting 2m apart were from different families and therefore “available for dispersal orders under the new law”. This is community policing at its best, encouraging park users to use gardens if they have them or if they don’t have gardens to permit them to use the park subject to social distancing being maintained.
The risk of transmission in an open park is very low because the virus struggles to survive in such conditions and as long as people who don’t live together do not exchange food (wrapped or otherwise) thereby risking transmission via the packaging or play with balls etc if they’re from different families.
The conspiracy theories about self-isolation being an alien takeover might have some slightly greater credence today following the video released by Sandford Police (see below)