National Trust to close gardens and parks before Mother's Day to limit spread of COVID-19

Lisa Walden
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From Country Living

The National Trust has announced that they will close all of their gardens and parks at midnight on Saturday 21st March, ahead of Mother's Day, to limit the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.

Earlier this week, the Trust decided to open their parks and gardens for free to provide everyone with a place to enjoy some fresh air during social distancing, but Director General Hilary McGrady has now reversed the decision. She has done so on the grounds that the charity needs to do everything they can to encourage social distancing – especially on Mother's Day when people are more likely to meet.

The National Trust closed all of their pay-for-entry indoor sites – including houses, cafés and shops – on Friday 20th March following government advice.

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“Despite our desire to keep our outdoor spaces open, the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors has to be our top priority," said Hilary McGrady in a statement.

“Having observed the numbers visiting our properties today I am no longer convinced we can maintain social distancing over Mother’s Day when numbers are likely to grow, and beyond.

“We have now sadly taken the decision to close all of our parks and gardens, in addition to our houses, shops and cafes, to avoid crowding that puts social distancing at risk. We know that people are likely to need space and fresh air in the coming weeks and months and we will do all we can to provide access wherever possible.

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“Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing measures.

“Over the coming weeks our digital platforms – our website, social media feeds, podcasts and video – will become even more important, ensuring the places of nature, beauty and history that we care for on behalf of the nation can remain open for business virtually while we are temporarily closed.

“We will also be ramping up our efforts to help people connect with nature wherever they are and to find moments of joy in the world around them. We will be providing rich content and staying in touch with our members and followers throughout this time.”

More on coronavirus:

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The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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