Lambeth Council have taped up park benches preventing people from sitting in Clapham Common, Southwest London as benches could “harbour” coronavirus.
The council have come under fire from local residents as there are concerns about the elderly and vulnerable people having no place to sit should they need to rest.
Benali Hamdache, co-chairman of LGBTIQA+ Greens and London Assembly candidate for the Green Party, told Sky News, “It is definitely something that concerns me.
“I previously sprained my ankle and a public bench was the only thing that helped me get home that day.
“My partner also has a chronic foot problem and getting out and about with it before being diagnosed was a nightmare, so having benches really helped.
“A lot of vulnerable people are having to rely on themselves on the exercise and the food they need and it can be really hard getting around without them.
“My biggest concern is the people who are most likely to flout the social distancing rules are not going to be the people put off by this tape. It will be the people who actually need the benches are the people who are most likely to find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
However, one person said in a tweet, “Someone sits on the bench. Touches the arm. Walks away. Someone else sits on the bench. Touches the arm. Walks away. Repeat.
“Eventually someone with the virus touches the arm. Next person touches the arm. Picks up the virus. Repeat.
“This is why use of benches etc not a good idea.”
A Lambeth Council spokesman said, “Hard surfaces, such as benches and play equipment, could harbour the virus.
“For public health reasons, they have been fenced off to minimise the potential transmission of the virus so that people can enjoy Lambeth’s award-winning parks safely, provided they follow the rules on social distancing and responsible use.”
However, the coronavirus lockdown will last for “several more weeks” as there can be no relaxation until the UK has past the peak.
NHS England’s national medical director Stephen Powis said it was “critical” that people obeyed the instructions and stayed at home.
Scientists in Finland have warned coronavirus can stay in the air far longer than previously thought, through talking, sneezing and coughing.
Their findings “emphasise the importance of avoiding busy indoor spaces.”