Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice on accessing green spaces safely

Advice on using green spaces and protecting yourself and others from coronavirus.

The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others outdoors is considered to be low as long as people maintain social distancing.

You can meet in groups of:

  • up to 2 households (your support bubble counts as one household), indoors or outdoors
  • up to 6 people from different households, outdoors

This national guidance applies to England. Check if there are local restrictions in your area.

When using outdoor spaces, you should follow the rules in:

Do not travel to different parts of the UK if the rules in that country do not allow you to.

You must follow social distancing guidelines when spending time outdoors.

When accessing green spaces, walk or cycle if you can. Where this is not possible, use public transport or drive.

If using public transport, you must wear a face covering, unless you have a exemption because of your age, health or another condition. Read guidance on making and wearing a face covering. You should consider that wearing a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

You can travel any distance to get to the countryside.

Before travelling, you should check if facilities, such as car parks and toilets, are open to visitors. Do not park on verges or block gates. This restricts access for other vehicles.

You can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household.

Campsites and caravan sites may open, but some facilities may be closed. You should seek permission from the landowner before camping on other land.

To stay safe, you should:

  • take hygiene precautions when you are outside
  • wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors
  • keep at least 2 metres apart from anyone outside your household or support bubble where possible, or at least one metre with precautions such as wearing a face mask
  • take hand sanitiser with you in case there are no handwashing facilities

Respect other people and protect the natural environment

Read signs and respect the measures that local authorities and site management have put in place to help ensure social distancing.

When in the countryside, follow the Countryside Code. You should:

  • take all of your litter home
  • not use barbecues as they risk causing wildfires
  • keep dogs under effective control and on a lead when you are around farm animals - read further guidance for pet owners
  • leave gates as you find them and following instructions on signs
  • use footpaths and follow signs where they suggest alternative routes

Wildlife, including nesting birds, may have moved into new areas. Land managers may have provided extra protection for wildlife. Be vigilant and comply with these protective measures so that you do not disrupt the local wildlife.

If you own or manage land

You should read:

You may need to take a different approach if you’re managing land in the countryside.

You should clean gates and stiles, if possible.

You can display signs at access points to remind the public to take hygiene precautions and wash hands regularly.

You should consider tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that walkers do not need to touch the gate.

You do not have the legal right to block or obstruct public rights of way or open access land. However,where large numbers of people are using such routes, you may:

  • temporarily display notices to encourage the public to use alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools
  • offer an alternative route around gardens and farmyards where it’s safe to do so - you must gain permission from relevant landowners and make sure the route is safe for users and livestock, and you must maintain the original right of way
  • put up signs warning people where footpaths are narrow and it is difficult to follow social distancing guidelines

Animal attractions

Animal attractions can reopen for visitors.

Visitors must:

  • follow social distancing guidelines.
  • wear a face covering in indoor areas

Attractions where people interact with animals, such as petting farms, can operate.

Operators should follow:

See BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) resources and guidance for zoos and aquariums.

Published 1 June 2020
Last updated 4 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated with changes that apply from 4 July.

  2. Updated with guidance on reopening of animal attractions.

  3. Clarified guidance for zoos and other businesses that keep animals (not normally domesticated in England) for exhibition to the public.

  4. First published.