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Dudley Council Leader issues stark warning as Himley Park closes

The leader of the council has sent a stark warning to people flouting government advice and gathering in parks as he closed the gates on the grounds of Himley Hall.

Councillor Patrick Harley said people had a “duty” to listen to the health advice to protect people from the coronavirus.

He ordered the grounds of the Hall to be closed with immediate effect, following reports to him about crowds of people gathering at the beauty spot on Tuesday.

Councillor Harley said there was clear government advice to stay at home unless absolutely necessary but parks would remain open for one piece of exercise every day. It was clear that many visitors to the park were not following government instructions around social distancing and therefore the council closed the park. He also reminded people that if they had to make an “essential” trip outdoors they must follow guidance on social distancing. Councillor Harley said:

"I had several reports yesterday that people were blatantly flouting the expert advice and gathering in large groups within Himley Park.

"We had tried to keep the grounds open so that people had somewhere to get fresh air and exercise, but I’m afraid we cannot allow people to put each other at risk by gathering in large numbers there. The advice from government has been very clear – stay at home to protect yourself and our NHS. If you have to go out, for essential things, then you must observe the recommended social distancing.

"The only way to reduce the spread of coronavirus is if we all reduce our contact with other people. If people follow these rules we will all be doing what we can to defend ourselves from this terrible outbreak. If people do not follow this expert advice, I will be forced to close more parks and open spaces.”

Himley Hall has been closed for several days but the grounds had remained open. They are now closed until further notice.

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