‘My heart goes out to all those in a tenement flat’, says First Minister

Parks in Scotland will remain open during lockdown as long as the public follow social distancing guidelines and use them only for one daily period of exercise, authorities have said.

Police officers patrol Kelvingrove Park during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Alan Harvey

Urban green spaces have become havens in recent weeks for the many Scots who live in apartments and may not have access to a private garden, with around 70 per cent of homes in both Glasgow and Edinburgh some kind of flat,

But speculation has mounted in the last week that further lockdown restrictions may be required to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, with UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock warning outdoor exercise could be banned after people were seen sunbathing in parks across London.

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Local authorities in Glasgow and Edinburgh told Scotland on Sunday they would follow guidance from the Scottish Government on the issue.

“We’ve found our parks are being used responsibly in the most part but we will of course continue to monitor the situation,” said a spokeswoman for City of Edinburgh Council.

Parks across Glasgow saw numerous joggers and cyclists on Friday but benches and grassy areas remained largely empty, suggesting people were following guidelines.

A council spokesman said: “Glasgow is fortunate to have a large number of accessible parks that are well spread across the city.

“Compliance with the government’s rules on leaving the home is, ultimately, being monitored by police – however we have closed car parks, in order to discourage unnecessary journeys, and are displaying guidance on social distancing.”

At a media briefing last week Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped there would be no need for a stricter lockdown.

“I am acutely aware of how tough these measures are for everybody,” she said. “But I am even more aware of how tough they are for people living in accommodation where they don’t have gardens.”

She added: “My heart goes out to everybody in a tenement flat right now. Your life must be difficult – and that is why I am grateful.

“You’re not just protecting yourself, you are protecting your community and the NHS.”

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