An image showing dozens of cars at a Staffordshire beauty spot which has been shared by police has sparked a huge debate about social distancing during lockdown.
The image – which shows cars parked at Highgate Common, in South Staffordshire – was posted by police on their website who said they had ‘spent time educating those turning up to enjoy the sunny weather and will continue to be a visible presence across the county to encourage social distancing and responsible behaviour’.
The picture has sparked fierce debate on Facebook – with some people saying those who travelled to the beauty spot over the weekend were not doing anything wrong, while others said they were shocked people still don’t understand the social distancing guidelines.
Writing on Facebook, Tina Derry said: “It’s awful, they should never have said people can drive to exercise because as it shows they take the mickey.
“It should be as it was walk to exercise, it’s not that we live in a built up area, we have lots of lovely places to walk. This could end up causing more spreading of the virus. We have it easier here than abroad as they can’t even exercise. As always people start abusing the rules.”
Jorja Whittingham agreed. She said: “I’m shocked people still don’t understand that they cant drive to these places, even when told by the government that they are not allowed to do so!! How stupid can people be?!
Sue Bennett said: “The virus doesn’t travel, people do. If you travel to a different area to exercise you could be transferring the virus either to or from your area.
“Regardless of the conflicting advice, ask yourself, if you stand outside and clap for the NHS yet refuse to stay local are you truly supporting your NHS or insulting them?”
And Nickie Thomson said: “Fine these bloody people! With fines that are a high amount like £300 because they wouldn’t leave their houses again! I can’t get my head round these idiots!”
However, other people say they don’t see an issue with people visiting beauty spots for their daily exercise.
Karen Smith said: “I don’t see a problem with this. It’s more sensible to drive to an open area to have your walk/exercise than in built up areas where you can’t socially distance.”
Maree Stephens said: “Blame the government who have said you can drive somewhere to take daily exercise as long as you exercise for longer than it takes you to drive there,” and Amanda Sigsworth said: “I am under the impression that it is fine to drive out to the countryside as long as your journey time is in proportion to the time you are exercising. “
Government guidelines on leaving your home includes the following:
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.