As the UK enters lockdown in response to the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak, the rules still allow for us to leave the house once a day for exercise. Our Communications and Media Manager, Kath Shaw, outlines how we can use this opportunity safely.
The Prime Minister has announced new rules: we must all stay at home. This goes for people who have symptoms and those who don’t. It goes for everyone.
‘Social distancing’ wasn’t in our vocabulary as little as a month ago. Now it’s everywhere. Add in ‘self-isolation’ and talk of vulnerable groups, it’s no wonder it can get confusing.
As of Monday night (23 March) though, these new restrictions are much clearer: we must stay at home.
However, we can still leave the home for vital shopping and medicine, to care for someone else, and once a day for daily exercise.
But, as we said last week, you must stay two metres away from others.
We put others at risk if any of us ignore this advice (here’s looking at you, mass gatherers at Tynemouth beach, Victoria Road market, the car parks around Snowdon).
And, (again) as we said last week, we must be mindful of two of Covid-19's big consequences - isolation and inactivity.
Choose open spaces
Wash your hands when you get home
It’s incredibly important that we keep active even now, both for our own wellbeing and to avoid storing up massive health problems for ourselves and the NHS in the future.
Just a 20-minute walk can prevent long-term health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
We’ve put together a Q&A to help you walk whilst staying safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19, along with some tips on how you can keep your walk fresh.
All the advice is as of 24 March, and of course Government guidance will change as the situation develops.
However, at Living Streets we want one thing to stay the same: we want everyone to still be able to walk safely.
As always, we’re including all pedestrians, including those who use wheelchairs or mobility aids.
What does two metres look like?
Two metres is just over 6 feet, but since we do not all carry a tape measure with us, think of it as a minimum of three normal strides for an adult.
Here's a helpful photo from Strider, though:
"But what is #2metres?"— Living Streets (@livingstreets) March 25, 2020
🤔 Imagine you have a broomstick.
If you can't touch anyone with it, you're doing it right ✅
Our Strider demonstrates ⤵️#COVID19 #StayHome #WalkingFromHome
(NB. Strider knows this person. Please do not wave broomsticks in the faces of strangers) pic.twitter.com/sRIiz1La5r
What is the difference between social distancing and self-isolation?
Self-isolation means staying at home. It applies to people who have symptoms of coronavirus and people who live with them.
Social distancing is about ways to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus and is advised for everyone. Coronavirus may not have hit you or your community yet, but acting like it has can help stop it doing so.
The NHS advice for people at high risk and those with coronavirus symptoms is recommending people to stay at home.
Can I walk to the shops?
If you are showing symptoms or living with someone who is then you should avoid going to the shops. Arrange for friends and family to shop for you and leave your shopping on the doorstep.
If you have no symptoms and are not living with someone who does then you can go to the shops for essentials, but ‘only when you really need to’. Many shops have started to mark out this distance in their queues. If they haven’t, don’t feel pressured to standing close to the person in front.
Can I walk with my own family/people I live with?
Walking with people in your immediate household is fine, as you’re already in contact with them in the home.
However, be mindful not to walk in a large family group and take up the pavement. As we already know, many of our pavements aren’t very wide. You need to leave at least two metres room for others to pass you confidently and safely.
Is it okay to go to my neighbour’s house?
By all means share a wave or a smile, or talk over your front garden. However, it’s important that you maintain the two-metre distance. If you think your neighbour might need food or other essentials getting, you can arrange via phone, internet or from a distance and leave these on their doorstep.
Can I go for a run or cycle?
You can, just make sure you maintain two metres from others. Our friends at Cycling UK have put together their own advice on cycling safely and responsibly during this time.
The same advice as when you’re walking with your family goes for this. Leave at least two metres for others to pass by you. Be mindful that breathing heavily, as you do when you’re on a run, can be intimidating to others and might stop them from wanting to get out and go for a walk.
Can I go to the playground with my children?
Playgrounds can be busy, and the virus can survive on plastic and metal for two to three days, so under the new announcement these areas will be closed off.
Bring your own bike, scooter or play equipment to the park instead.
Surfaces are possible sources of contamination, so bring your own disinfectant wipes and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
How do I keep my walk interesting?
You might be having to walk a lot of the same routes if you usually rely on public transport to take you to other destinations.
Why not take this time to really look around your local area? You could Rate Your Walk using our online tool or even carry out your own community street audit to spot improvements that could be made to your neighbourhood to make walking easier.
Rely on children and their creative minds to keep things interesting. Jane, our Project Coordinator in Merseyside has been spotting rainbows with her daughter,
Or, try our Scavenger Hunt!
We’ll be sharing photos of people getting active whilst following the two metre rules. #walkingfromhome.
Give it a follow for inspiration, get involved and stay in touch.