Latest Covid-19 Restrictions and what they mean for Outdoor Recreation

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Updated on 8th January 2021

The government has introduced additional restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and to help manage the pressures on the health and social care system. During this time, the single most important action you should take is to stay at home.

The new restrictions are in place until 6th February and will be reviewed on 21st January.

The following information has been taken from NI Direct and applies specifically to undertaking outdoor recreation:

  • Leaving Home: You may leave your home for exercise, as permitted in the regulations.
  • Travel: You should not travel more than 10 miles from your home in order to take exercise.
  • Outdoor Gatherings: Up to six people (including children of all ages) from a maximum of two households can meet outdoors for a permitted reason. You should maintain social distancing by being at least two metres apart, as well as good hand and respiratory hygiene practices.
  • Outdoor Areas: Outdoor parks, play areas, outdoor areas of properties operated by the National Trust and the outdoor areas of stately homes, historic homes and castles are permitted to remain open.
  • Exercising Outdoors: You should minimise time spent outside your home. You can leave your home to exercise in a public outdoor place:
    • by yourself
    • with the people you live with
    • with your bubble
    • or, when on your own, with one person from another household

You should not travel more than 10 miles from your home in order to take exercise. If, when you arrive at your proposed destination, there are crowds which will make social distancing difficult you should find an alternative place to exercise.

  • Outdoor Sport: Outdoor sport is not permitted, other than at elite level. You cannot participate in personal one-to-one training sessions or group activities such as running or cycling

Spending time outdoors can significantly improve physical and mental wellbeing. To stay safe outdoors, you should follow the ‘Be Outdoor Smart – Leave No Trace’ guidance by:

Be Outdoor Smart

  1. Planning ahead – check if your destination will be open and what facilities are available
  2. Respecting the emergency services – now is not the time to end up in hospital
  3. Scaling back your ambitions – choose activities that are within your skills and capabilities
  4. Parking with care – careless parking can create a road hazard or block access for Emergency Services, local farmers and residents
  5. Avoiding peak times and popular sites to help maintain social distancing
  6. Bringing and using hand sanitiser, especially after touching surfaces and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors
  7. Respecting the wishes of landowners, local communities and other users of the site
  8. Keeping at least 2 metres apart from anyone outside your household or bubble where possible
  9. Not leaving your house if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or if you are self-isolating

Leave No Trace – Love The Place

  1. Taking your litter home with you
  2. Keeping your dog under control
  3. Enjoying nature but not disturbing it
  4. Only starting fires in designated BBQ areas

 For the most up to date status of key outdoor recreation guidelines please visit NI Direct.