CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

‘Totally moronic idiots’ gather for park barbecue

Police halt gathering in park

25 March, 2020 — By Richard Osley

A photo from Kilburn Grange posted by Fortune Green councillor Richard Olszewski

CAMDEN Council is urging people to use parks responsibly after reports of picnics and barbecues, and queues for an ice cream van, on the first official day of the coronavirus lockdown.

Less than 24 hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered people to stay indoors to help slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus – which yesterday claimed the lives of more than 80 patients – police support officers had to break up a barbecue gathering set up in the green space in Fortune Green.


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Under the government’s instructions, gatherings of more than two are banned and people should only be outside to shop for essentials, one form of exercise a day or travel to key worker places of employment. When outside, people must stay at least two metres away from others.

But yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, Labour councillor Richard Olszewski was alerted to the barbecue in the park.

“It seems the message didn’t get through clearly enough the first time,” he tweeted. “Police back a second time to deliver the message a bit more forcefully. The three BBQ idiots have now gone. Such irresponsible, selfish and totally moronic behaviour, could see us forced to close parks totally.”

An ice-cream van trading near Kilburn Grange

Earlier, he had not minced his words with a message that said: “Who are these nobheads? Three idiots on Fortune Green setting up for a barbecue. I hear Police intervened and ‘had a word’. The only people in the country who failed to get the memo to not be an arse?”

Others out on their daily walk, as permitted, said they saw people queuing for an ice cream van at Kilburn Grange and questioned what services counted as essential, while people were also spotted ignoring tape around an outside gym to use the facilities.

Camden Council leader Councillor Georgia Gould has already warned that parks may have to be closed if they are not used responsibly and people do not acknowledge the ban on gatherings and the two metre rule. Playgrounds have already been locked up.

The New Journal’s videocall interview with Camden Council leader Georgia Gould

A Town Hall press official said this morning: “We want to keep our parks and green spaces open as we know how important these areas are for physical and mental wellbeing at this time. We’re urging all residents to follow the guidance to only exercise outside once a day and when doing so, keeping two metres apart from each other, going somewhere else if a park is busy and washing hands more frequently. We are also advising residents to use their gardens if they have access to one. ”

He added: “We are increasing signage across these areas to advise residents about these new measures, and we have closed playgrounds and other spaces that can be locked. However, we are asking our residents to work with us and use parks responsibly, if not, we may not be able to keep these spaces open as the safety of our communities must come first.”

 

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