Kent residents are being reminded to avoid unnecessary travel and popular open spaces this weekend as efforts continue to curb the spread of Covid-19.

With the weather set to be glorious, members of the Kent Resilience Forum including district and borough councils, along with Kent County Council, Kent Police and the train operator Southeastern, are reminding everyone to follow the Government’s advice by staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

A spokesman for Dartford Borough Council said: “It is ironic that just as we’re being asked to stay in for almost the whole day, the sun comes out. But as we battle this virus, common sense remains our biggest weapon and most people are using theirs.

“Please don’t travel to country parks to do your exercise and certainly don’t go to public places for picnics or social gatherings – stay close to home, only go out with members of your own household once a day for exercise and please avoid creating a crowd. We’re in this together and it is working. Don’t stop now #kenttogether.”

Government scientists say not getting too close to other people who do not live with you, otherwise known as social distancing, is important to defeating the disease but is incredibly difficult when lots of people are in the same place at the same time. 

KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark added: “You need to stay two metres (six feet) away from other people – that’s either two very big steps or hold your arm out and then double that distance.

“Exercise is an important way to help your physical and mental health. If you can’t keep fit and healthy at home then the Government advice is for one trip out of your house each day for a walk or run. Stay close to your home and you should not drive unnecessarily or take public transport unless it is absolutely essential. We have to continue with a sensible approach to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and avoid the strain on the NHS.”

Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Faulconbridge said: “As part of their routine patrolling across the county, Kent Police officers are engaging with individuals and businesses to ensure they are adhering to the Government’s instructions around social distancing.

“Officers are engaging with those going against the instructions, explaining why they are necessary and encouraging them to comply, with enforcement being used only as a last resort. It is therefore pleasing that police enforcement has not yet been necessary by the police in Kent since legislation under the Coronavirus Act was introduced last week.

“I would like to thank the people of Kent for continuing to play their part at this difficult time by staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.”

Aaron Willcox, Margate station manager said: “Southeastern’s reduced timetable is designed for vital key workers making essential journeys, with only half the usual number of trains. We know a trip to the beach might seem tempting as the weather gets warmer, but please follow the government advice and only travel if your journey is absolutely essential.”