Victoria Park reopens with major police presence to enforce lockdown

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Victoria Park has reopened after being closed for two weeks to stop people breaking coronavirus social distancing rules.

Tower Hamlets council has introduced several new measures to encourage people to keep to Government guidelines in the popular east London park.

Signs have been put up banning cycling, picnics and ball games.

Mounted police and council security were seen running frequent patrols on Saturday, while loudspeakers have been set up across the park playing recorded messages about social distancing.

Eighteen volunteers have also been given megaphones to alert people who may be at risk of breaking the rules.

The park will only be open from 8am to 4pm.

Tower Hamlets closed the park on March 25 amid fears of too many people not obeying social distancing orders.

A spokesperson for the council told the Standard: “Since the council and police made a joint decision to close Victoria Park on Wednesday 25 March, we have been working hard to introduce new control measures, train additional staff and install related signage that reminds visitors of their individual responsibilities and the current government guidance on social distancing.

“This is consistent with the approach towards parks taken by many other local authorities in London, and across the UK.”

The spokesperson added that the park was important for people’s general health and wellbeing.

“We are doing everything we can and in return we need people to do their bit by staying local, following guidance and enjoying the park responsibly,” the spokesperson said.

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs said: “Like a lot people in London we have learned things … we can’t get everything right

He said: “There’s been a lot of frustration that it’s been closed, we’re a very dense borough. People need some space to breathe.”

London is the worst-affected part of the UK by coronavirus. More than 2,500 Covid-19-related deaths were in London out of around 9,000 in the UK as of Saturday .

Brockwell Park in south London closed last weekend after warm weather saw about 3,000 people flock to the park in a single day.

Additional reporting by PA Media. 

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