Car parks at Staffordshire County Council’s country parks will begin a phased reopening from Wednesday, 13th May.
The move follows the Government’s updated guidance on exercising and staying safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities, said: “Now that the Government’s guidance about exercise and travel has been updated we are keen to help people visit our country parks and enjoy our beautiful countryside, but they should still follow the rules regarding social distancing and staying alert to the risk of passing the virus on.
“It will be a phased reopening of the car parks and people can check the latest details on our social media accounts or via the county council’s website https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/environment/OpenSpaces/List-of-Parks-Picnic-Areas.aspx
Cannock Chase car parks at the White House, Penkridge Bank, the Brindley Heath car parks, Coppice Hill, Chase Road Corner, Chase Vista, Anson’s Bank, Aspens and informal parking at triangle by visitor centre - but not the main car park - will open through the course of Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th May. Other car parks at Marquis Drive pay & display, Milford Common, Punch Bowl and Seven Springs remain closed at present and will open in due course.
Car parks at Staffordshire County Council’s country parks at Chasewater, Apedale, Greenway Bank and Deep Hayes, will also reopen through the course of the day.
Toilets will remain closed until additional hygiene and social distancing arrangements have been put in place and visitors should plan accordingly.
Visitors are asked to keep dogs on leads to help observe social distancing rules and not to have barbecues, light fires, or dispose of cigarettes carelessly as there remains a strong risk to people, property and wildlife from fire.
Visitor centres and children’s playgrounds will remain closed for the time being.
Gill Heath said: “Whether this increased access to our country parks lasts is up to the people who go there.
“If we find people congregating in car parks and ignoring social distancing we may have to close them again to ensure public safety.
“So many people have sacrificed - and are still sacrificing - so much for the benefit of the rest of us that we must do all we can to keep Covid-19 under control and avoid the risk of infections rising once more.”
From Wednesday Government guidance says that people may drive any distance to visit publicly accessible outdoor spaces and that they can sit and rest there with members of their household or with one person from another household - though they must keep at least two metres apart.
To ensure social distancing public gatherings of more than two people are still banned. Full guidance can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing#visiting-public-places