UPDATED BMC COVID-19 ADVICE TO WALKERS AND CLIMBERS.

I have just received an email from the BritishMountaineeringCouncil giving advice to climbers and walkers during the forthcoming lockdown. As I found it comprehensive and clear I reprint it here.

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On Saturday, the Prime Minister announced plans for a second lockdown in England from 5 November. Lockdown 2 is likely to be different in a number of ways to the initial lockdown we saw in March, but how is it expected to affect climbers and walkers? Our access team take a look.

Before we delve into the detail, it’s worth highlighting that the key tactics that we all need to use haven’t changed: social distancing (2m where possible or 1m with extra precautions in place such as wearing a mask), using masks in indoor public places (including public transport) and properly washing your hands are all still crucial.

This article is based on current government guidance rather than legislation (which hasn’t been released yet) and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Can I still go climbing and walking?

Yes, you can. From 5 November, you can only leave your home for specific purposes. One of these is to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place (which specifically includes countryside), with members of your household, support bubble or one person from another household.

As with the first lockdown, consider your choice of venue, as there is potential for increased numbers with indoor options removed. Whilst the likelihood of transmission outdoors is very low, large numbers of people in honeypot locations could result in further general access issues as seen earlier in the year: bad parking, sanitation, litter and drawing attention to sites where formal access has not been agreed. As always, have an alternative plan in case your destination is too busy and be considerate in your actions to make sure we don’t see further access losses.

Can I travel to go climbing or walking?

Current guidance ahead of the lockdown is that it will be OK to travel to exercise if you need to make a short journey to do so. The definition of ‘short’ is open to interpretation, of course, but the guidance also advises avoiding travel in or out of your local area so it seems the intention is to allow exercise near to where you live but not further afield. We’re trying to get further clarification on this, but it does mean that at least local parking is legitimate. Walking and cycling as a means of transport is also encouraged where possible in preference to public transport to avoid the risk of transmission.

However, do not travel if:

  • you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms
  • you are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms
  • you are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms
  • you have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace  

Can I stay overnight away from home?

All overnight stays and holidays away from your primary residence will not be allowed. This will include camping, staying in vans (if not your primary residence), huts, self-catering, hotels and holidays abroad and in the UK. Exemptions apply if you need to stay away from home for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.

Can I travel from England to Wales, Scotland or further afield?

The guidance is clear that for English residents, travel outside of England is not allowed other than for very specific purposes (i.e. your work requires it or a few other very specific circumstances).

BMC Manchester  03/11/2020

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