26 March 2020| | 2 min read
Town Moor: Warning!
Signs are going up at entrances to Newcastle’s Town Moor reminding people of the need for social distancing.
It follows concerns that health conscious individuals flocking to the Moor for exercise are not observing the Government’s guidelines to stay two metres apart.
A key worker crossing the Moor while going to work at the Royal Victoria infirmary complained to the council who consulted with the Freeman. The signs are going up today on lamp posts and gated entrances to the vast open space.
The worker, who the council is not naming, said: “The Moor is full of families, runners, walkers, dog walkers.
“No attempts at social distancing. People walking in pairs whilst they are obviously in a larger group, runners in groups of three of more, children running around unchecked. It looks like the photos over the weekend of people at seaside areas.
“Last night I was stuck in a bottleneck of at least 10 people, absolutely no way of staying two metres apart.
“Getting off the Moor it was like The Hoppings were here - so many people were walking towards it.
“The buses were all empty, I would have been at less risk of infection on a bus than over the Moor.
“The Moor needs to be kept clear for people going to and from work - not for people who think the rules don't apply to them. It appears that certain groups have decided it is one long Bank Holiday.
“Perhaps when someone they know dies, they may realise how selfish they are.”
The council and Freemen are erecting signs at all entrances to the Town Moor reminding people of the need to observe social distancing and not gather in groups outside of their household to prevent the virus being transmitted.
Government guidelines are that people should exercise once a day and stay local. Do not drive to popular destinations.
Cabinet member for employment and culture, and chair of the Town Moor Joint Commitee, Cllr Ged Bell, said: “I was very concerned to receive this email from a resident and regular user of the Town Moor.
“This is not a game. I have listened to some heart-rending accounts of staff in intensive care units struggling to cope with what is happening.
“This is only going to get worse before it gets better, so I implore people to observe the rules and keep their distance from each other.
“Compared with what our brave NHS staff are having to deal with, social distancing really is nothing to ask of people in these challenging times.”
David Wilson, vice chair of the steward’s committee of the Freemen of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, said: “Whilst people will make use of the Town Moor for exercise and recreation I would urge people to comply with the Government’s guidance around social distancing and stay two metres apart from each other.
Newcastle’s Director of Public Health, Prof Eugene Milne, said: “While social distancing you can go out once a day for exercise.
“Walking, cycling and running are great ways to keep fit without being physically close to other people, and our parks and open spaces are ideal for this. But please don’t break those distancing rules.
“Stay two metres from others and don’t congregate. Otherwise, we may be forced to close what should be some of our greatest assets in getting through this difficult time. And we really do not want to have to do that.”