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Walkers urged to keep social distance even when hiking following 'upsurge' of people in parks

St. Patrick’s Day saw many people out and about.

A hiking trail in Glendalough, Co Wicklow.
A hiking trail in Glendalough, Co Wicklow.
Image: Shutterstock

IRELAND’S NATIONAL PARKS and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is encouraging people to maintain social distancing even when walking and hiking outdoors.

With pubs closed across the country on yesterday St. Patrick’s Day, many people took to opportunity to instead go out walking. It followed an “upsurge” people in parks over the weekend previous. 

This activity has been encouraged by the Department of Health as a way of maintaining both physical and mental health but those doing so are asked to keep within their own small groups and staying at least two metres apart.

In a statement published yesterday, the NPWS noted that there has been an increase in people using parks. 

“Ireland’s National Parks and Nature Reserves remain accessible to the public and have seen an upsurge in visitors in recent days. While the Parks and Reserves remain open, visitor centres and information points are closed on foot of government measures to combat the spread of Covid-19,” the notice said. 

The National Parks and Wildlife Service would like to encourage continued enjoyment of these wonderful outdoor resources, but would also like to remind the public of the importance of adhering to current HSE advice, particularly in relation to social distancing.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, NPWS spokesperson Wesley Atkinson said many people were observed yesterday not adhering to social distancing guidelines when queuing and gathering together in groups. 

In its statement yesterday, the NPSW provided guidelines as to how people can go walking safely.

“To this end, the NPWS is encouraging small walking groups – with a distance of approximately 2 metres between individuals  – to avail of the numerous walks within the Parks and Reserves,” it said. 

“The NPWS asks individuals to avoid congregating closely in large groups, even in these outdoor areas.”

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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