Why It’s Not Okay To Sunbathe In Public During Lockdown

Natasha Hinde

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This past weekend brought with it sunshine and a renewed sense of hope after an emotionally trying week which saw the UK’s coronavirus death count soar.

But with the sunshine came testing times for many people across the UK, especially those with no outdoor space in their homes.

Parks have proved a lifeline as a place to exercise or simply stretch your legs and get some air – but as the UK strives to maintain its lockdown measures, some have been criticised for not following social distancing by indulging in a bit of non-essential sunbathing or congregating in groups of more than two.

On Sunday, authorities closed Brockwell Park in south London following reports that more than 3,000 people took to the park the day before, “many of them sunbathing or in large groups”.  Lambeth Council clarified on Twitter that it was “a minority of people” who had not complied, but said the closure “wouldn’t need to happen if people followed the clear instructions from the government”. 


Health secretary Matt Hancock initially warned that even tighter rules on social distancing could be imposed if people don’t follow the rules – including the banning of outdoor exercise.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, he said: “I don’t want to have to take that action, of course I don’t, but we have already demonstrated that we are prepared to take the action that’s necessary to get this virus under control.”

He later said a stricter lockdown wasn’t imminent, but added: “What we are doing is being absolutely clear that the current rules must be followed.”

So why can’t you sunbathe or sit in the park?

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