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Green Sefton update – Tier 2 guidance for Sefton’s parks and greenspaces

Green Sefton – Sefton Council’s service that looks after parks, green spaces, coast and countryside alongside volunteers and partner organisations – outlines what the Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions mean for residents, volunteers and community groups who use Sefton’s outdoor spaces.

Visiting Parks, Coast and other Greenspaces

Overall, outdoor open spaces remain freely open and accessible but indoor facilities such as Council managed pavilions remain closed and the Council is unable to authorise any public events until further notice.

People can continue to exercise or visit outdoor public places but in a Tier 2 area like Sefton:

  • You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’.
  • All visitors are urged to following these simply measures, regardless of the purpose of your visit or activity, and remember to wash your hands, wear a face covering and practice social distancing (Hands – Face – Space).

Volunteers

Volunteers are greatly valued across the Borough and they can now resume volunteering with Green Sefton as they did before – but the ‘rule of 6’ applies and no more than 6 volunteers should assemble.

A Covid-19 risk assessment is necessary to cover the work of volunteers and Green Sefton can help support groups unsure or needing assistance. Volunteers need to be aware that any gatherings of more than six people are against the law.

  • Volunteers must adhere to the same ‘rules’ as before the Tier 3 designation. You must bring your own tools and equipment, not shared equipment.

Outdoor Facilities that REMAIN CLOSED

  • Southport Skate Park – this site remains closed pending its refurbishment to install new ramps and the site will be relaunched in January (this closure is not related to measures to control the risk of infection – see statement here).

Outdoor Facilities that REMAIN OPEN

  • Playgrounds – The government allows that children’s playgrounds remain open. All Sfton Council sites are signposted with instructions as to their use to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection.
  • Outdoor Gyms – these were closed but can now reopen. Anyone using equipment must sanitise the surfaces prior to the use of equipment. As the Council has 30 sites it may take a few days before they can be recommissioned and to have all sites fully open again.
  • Allotments – allotment sites remain open. Tenants must limit their activity to their own plots, not mixing with other tenants and adhere to rules on the control of Coivid-19 which are displayed at entrance gates.
  • Dog Exercise Areas – these remain open to use.

Buildings

As the national guidance suggests households cannot mix indoors at all right now, then use of buildings is not appropriate at this time.

Signage is about to be erected on each building indicating the measures required in each premises for opening/use in due course.

In the New Year, subject to government restrictions and tiering, the Council will be asking groups to provide risk assessments and to complete an application form for agreeing/ booking the use of premises.

Many groups have found it difficult to undertake work in the last few months and it is hoped that there will be a return to use of indoor premises in 2021 (subject to bookings being approved, and bearing in mind the national guidance of no mixing indoors).

Sports Fixtures

There are more than 270 sports teams and clubs using Sefton Council pitches for grassroots sport, predominantly football.

The use of such pitches can now resume for fixtures but the restrictions previously in place on site still apply. There should only be one family spectator bringing children to junior fixtures and no accompanying visitors to adult fixtures.

To allow teams the maximum opportunity to recover fixtures that could not be played in the national lockdown, Green Sefton are proposing three measures to assist teams to complete their season.

  • In place of the normal three-week Christmas break, it is proposed that there will only be a two-week break from use of pitches. Pitches will be available until closedown on Monday 21st December and reopen for the weekend of 3rd / 4th January 2021.
  • The Council intends to extend the season until 30th May 2021 to support fixtures being completed.
  • The opportunity to play midweek games will be given to Leagues. Midweek games could be played but realistically, given daylight issues, for games to finish with a 6.30pm KO it would be from April 2021 before this opportunity could be provided. This would allow an extra 6 midweek games.

Please note: The Council may request teams to alter the match venue at the end of the season depending upon the number of teams still seeking to play. This will allow the Council to focus on pitch reinstatement at the earliest opportunity, and aim to have pitches available for play for the 21/22 season in a timely manner.

Re-opening of Municipal Golf Courses

Bootle Golf Course and Southport Golf Links will reopen from Wednesday 2nd Dec but have the same infection control measures in place as prior to the lockdown. This means, for example, that users must be masked to enter the golf shops. Please check rules of play before you begin your game.

Thank you to everyone for supporting efforts to keep Sefton’s communities’ safe from the risk of infection.

Anyone with further queries, please contact the Green Sefton team by email: greensefton@sefton.gov.uk