Families flock to park on hottest day of the year after lockdown easing
PUBLISHED: 17:05 20 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:30 21 May 2020
The hottest temperatures of the year so far have seen crowds flock to Norwich parks after the easing of lockdown restrictions.
With forecasters predicting temperatures of 26C on Wednesday, warmer than parts of the Mediterranean, families could be seen enjoying the sunshine in larger numbers than the weekend.
At Earlham Park families were enjoying picnics, people were sitting in groups and youngsters were using the river as a paddling pool.
Nearby roads and lay-bys were also full of parked cars.
MORE: Hottest day of the year expected as thunderstorms loom
Crowds of music lovers had been due to descend on the park this bank holiday weekend to see acts including The Streets performing at Friday Night Live, Let’s Rock Norwich on Saturday and Sunday Sessions.
All three events have been cancelled due to the restrictions on mass gatherings.
Lockdown rules began to ease last week, with sunbathing and unlimited exercise outdoors allowed - as long as people observe social distancing.
Ingrid Henry, owner of Earlham Park cafe, which reopened for takeaways last Saturday, said despite the crowds people were still observing distancing.
“It is busy in the park but people are being sensible,” she said.
“We thought when we opened if there was a big queue we would have to close again; but from Saturday we gave it a try and found that people were really being quite good.
“People are keeping two metres away from each other. They aren’t sitting on the benches, they are sitting on the grass because the weather is nice and it is a huge open space.
“We have notices saying to stay two metres away when queuing.
“We are lucky in the fact we have a hatch that opens outside so people don’t actually have to come inside. My husband who is serving has got a mask and gloves on to protect himself.”
MORE: Eaton Park Café reopens as general store and takeaway
Eaton Park Café has also re-opened for takeaways, with seating removed inside allowing it to be transformed into a general store.
Norfolk Police said despite the easing of restrictions their response to gatherings remained the same with officers prioritising engagement, education, and encouragement to ensure that people understand the virus still poses a risk.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “Social distancing is important and the legislation exists to deal with inappropriate large groups of people.”
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