The coronavirus pandemic and resulting national lockdown has had a huge impact on the leisure, entertainment and hospitality industry.

All bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, playgrounds, sports facilities; and clubs, social groups, events and occasions, have been closed, cancelled or postponed. The nation has remained indoors in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Sheffield City Council has listened to the guidance from the Government and Public Health England and responded with the primary aim of keeping all residents safe, healthy and well, and fulfilling its duty in preventing the spread of the virus.

This has included, working with partners across the city to:

  • keep all Sheffield’s parks and green spaces open to allow daily exercise and improve mental and physical health and wellbeing, but close all other parks facilities
  • make changes to funeral and bereavement services to allow funerals to continue and be attended, while keeping all staff and mourners safe
  • cancel or postpone all city events, supporting some to take place virtually online

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “It’s fair to say, that for each and every one of us this pandemic has presented incomprehensible circumstances and extremely difficult decisions.

“As an authority we have responded to this with clear core values at the heart of everything we do. Keeping people safe and well, protecting our most vulnerable, supporting people to continue working or return to work when the time is right, following Government and scientific guidance and supporting our businesses and industries to recover.

“We are proud to have access to more than 800 parks and green spaces in the city, allowing our residents to take part in daily exercise, which we know plays an important role in keeping physically and mentally well.

“Our staff have worked extremely hard to make sure social distancing can be practiced by all visitors. We’ve used signage and ways of access to encourage this wherever possible. We’ve continued to maintain our green spaces where it is safe for staff to do so, and we have now put measures in place to allow our tennis courts to reopen.

“We’re currently reviewing other facilities within our parks, and hope to reopen some of those where it is safe to do so and complies with Government guidance.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the small daily pleasures available here in Sheffield, our great outdoors which has become even more important to us during these difficult times.

“I am grateful to everyone in the city for their efforts and sacrifices so far during this lockdown period, and although it feels like a small glimmer of normality is resuming, I must ask for your vigilance to continue. Together, if we are all sensible and adhere to the essential guidance from the Government, we can begin to rebuild parts of our former daily lives.”

The Council’s Cabinet agreed the Parks and Countryside service response during their first virtual Cabinet meeting this week.

In line with Government guidance, all Sheffield parks and green spaces remain open but with the following restrictions, intended to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and encourage social distancing:

  • Outdoor play and exercise facilities are closed until further notice, and gates to playgrounds remain locked
  • All cafes remain closed in parks throughout Sheffield
  • All parks community buildings are closed to the public, unless they are being used for key workers’ childcare facilities
  • Car parks at all sites across Sheffield are closed to encourage people to use parks near their homes and not travel to more distant parks
  • All dog owners are being politely directed to keep dogs on leads and to clean up after their pets whilst out on their walks. All litter and dog bins are being emptied regularly.

Throughout Sheffield parks and green spaces, clear signage has been displayed showing how to exercise social distancing. Alongside this, the restrictions in place have been shared through various online channels.

Selective grass-mowing has restarted to assist with social distancing.

Tennis courts in parks reopened from Thursday 21 May, and other facilities are currently being reviewed. A further announcement is expected soon on the reopening of some other facilities.

For all the latest information sign up to the council’s COVID-19 email updates.