The National Trust will close their parks and gardens, effective immediately.
Just three days ago, we reported that the National Trust would be keeping their grounds open so you could explore for free, in the hope that it would encourage the nation to “use open spaces to relax and refresh, while following the government’s social distancing guidance”. (Featured image: Chartwell, Kent)
However, they’ve had to break the sad news this evening that their parks will be closing from midnight tonight — proving how quickly things can change in these bizarre and unprecedented times.
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that all pubs, clubs, restaurant and leisure centres have been forced to close, the National Trust had to rethink their strategy. In a tweet shared on Saturday evening they announced: “We’ve taken the decision to close our parks and gardens to restrict the spread of the coronavirus. Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing.”
We’ve taken the decision to close our parks and gardens to restrict the spread of coronavirus. Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing. pic.twitter.com/HmXrz2efft
— National Trust (@nationaltrust) March 21, 2020
In their latest statement, which you can find on their website, Director General Hilary McGrady said: “Despite our desire to keep our outdoor spaces open, the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors has to be our top priority. Having observed the numbers visiting our properties today I am no longer convinced we can maintain social distancing over Mother’s Day when numbers are likely to grow, and beyond.
“We have now sadly taken the decision to close all of our parks and gardens, in addition to our houses, shops and cafes, to avoid crowding that puts social distancing at risk.
“Over the coming weeks our digital platforms – our website, social media feeds, podcasts and video – will become even more important, ensuring the places of nature, beauty and history that we care for on behalf of the nation can remain open for business virtually while we are temporarily closed.”
In other news: London’s rough sleepers are being offered hotel rooms to protect them against coronavirus.
Also published on Medium.