Lockdown: What can and can't you do in Norfolk?
Posted: Tue, 05 Jan 2021 16:27
As of 5 January, Norfolk once again found itself in lockdown with the rest of the country, after the government announced that the alert level had been raised with regards to the coronavirus pandemic. With these strict measures in place, many are left wondering what you can and can't do in Norfolk, particularly when it comes to exercise.
Whilst it is important to ensure you are following the rules and staying at home, it's also crucial to note that you are allowed to leave your house for certain essential exceptions, including to exercise outside once a day. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions relating to lockdown in Norfolk.
What are the five reasons I can legally leave the house for in lockdown?
Whilst it's important to follow the guidelines in order to stay healthy, slow the spread of the virus and avoid a fine, being active and getting out of the house safely can benefit your mental wellbeing provided it can be practised safely. The guidelines state that Norfolk residents may leave their house for five exempt reasons. These are as follows:
- To go to work if you cannot work from home
- To shop for necessities including food and medicine
- To exercise, which can be with up to one other person from outside your household or bubble. The exercise should ideally be limited to once per day and kept local.
- To provide care to a vulnerable person
- To attend a medical appointment or escape domestic abuse or danger in the household.
The good news is, exercise is permitted. You may exercise outside a recommended once a day with up to one other person from another household, provided you both maintain a safe 2m minimum distance from one another and anyone else you encounter whilst out and about. Remember, if we're all courteous and conscious of others, it will make a world of difference. It's important to keep wearing a mask where required, keeping our distance, and washing our hands at every opportunity.
If you need more information, check out the government guidelines.
How far can I travel for exercise in Norfolk?
A popular myth is that you can travel 'up to 5 miles from your house' for exercise. However, the government hasn't actually given a specific legal distance. The advice is simply to 'stay local', which ideally means exercising from your home town or village where possible. If this is not possible for safety reasons (e.g. you live on a busy road with no footpaths) or you need to visit an open space which is not available nearby, you may travel a short distance to exercise somewhere safely.
We would recommend going for walks and runs from your house where possible. If you are fortunate enough to have a local park within walking distance, you might visit there. Alternatively, we have listed a few local walking routes below - if these are within walking distance of where you live then why not give one of them a try?
What does this mean for sports and clubs?
Under the latest lockdown, gyms and swimming pools will continue to remain closed.
Outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses and tennis courts will also close to discourage mixing and unnecessary travel in the lockdown period.
This means that whilst many local teams will need to disband to avoid breaching the maximum number of people allowed to mix, you may exercise with your household, bubble or one other person from another household. This means you could stay active with a friend, teammate, instructor or a personal trainer provided it's a one to one session. It should be noted that recreation and leisure (e.g. picnics or social gatherings) are not allowed during this time.
What does lockdown mean for children?
Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Those attending higher education should undertake online learning until told otherwise, unless they are studying an exempt course such as medicine or veterinary sciences - if this is the case, the establishment should contact them directly. This means that a huge number of children and young people will also be stuck at home until lockdown ends - for resources on how to keep them entertained and active, click here.
There are some exemptions to the rule, including when children need to see another birth parent. See the full list of exemptions here.
What about care homes? Can I visit?
Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.
You should check the guidance on visiting care homes during COVID-19 to find out how visits should be conducted. Residents cannot meet people indoors on a visit out (for example, to visit their relatives in the family home). There is separate guidance for those in supported living.
I have a dog, can I walk them?
If you need to walk your dog, this should be done as part of your daily exercise allowance - we would recommend taking them on one long walk a day, and letting them out in the front or back garden if you have one for toilet breaks throughout the day. If you are concerned that your dog is not getting enough stimulation and exercise, local dog walking companies are permitted to operate so you might consider getting in touch with one.
Where are some places to go locally in Norfolk during lockdown?
Lockdown means most places will need to close temporarily if they are not considered essential, which does provide some limitations on where you can go to stay active. Where possible, we would recommend exercising from your own home, and only leaving your house for your daily recommended exercise if it is safe to do so whilst maintaining social distancing. Thankfully, Norfolk is abundant with various beautiful open-space areas in which we can walk, explore, run, cycle and more. Here are some ideas of places to get you started if you're unsure on where you can go locally:
- Mousehold Heath
- Whitlingham Country Park
- Marston Marshes
- Eaton Park
- Waterloo Park
- Earlham Park
- Bowthorpe Marsh
- Anderson's Meadow
- Cromer Promenade
- Sheringham circular walk
- Overstrand to Mundesley
- Norfolk coast path
- Blakeney Point Coastal walk
- Paston Way
- North Burlingham
- Great Yarmouth Seafront
- Lowestoft Seafront
- Angles Way
- Oulton Broad
- Burgh Castle
- Winterton on Sea
Places to walk in West Norfolk:
- Castle Acre
- Nar Valley Way
- Hardings Pitts
- Willows Nature Reserve
- Syderstone Common
- The Walks
Places to walk in South Norfolk:
- Boudicca Way
- Tyrell's Wood
- Smockmill Common
- Quaker Wood
- Redgrave and Lopham Fen
Remember, you should only be exercising locally, so if you're going outside, you should seek a walking route which is close to your house (either by walking or a short drive). You should not make unnecessary journeys whilst the lockdown is in place.
If you need more information on a specific walk or area, be sure to check out our On the Move Outdoors section - we believe Norfolk's beautiful walking paths should be for everyone regardless of age or ability, which is why we've begun testing them for accessibility.
What can I do from home Norfolk during lockdown?
If you're not yet ready to venture out of your home, that's understandable. Perhaps you're concerned about the health risks or are more comfortable exercising from home. We would recommend that you do try and remain active from home; it will give you a goal and can help your mental wellbeing, particularly if you can't get outside.
Our Active at Home section has hundreds of workouts and exercises you can do, ranging from light and gentle, to more challenging for those who want to push themselves a little extra. We'll continue to bring you our 'Workout of the Week' which is a new online class each week for you to try out.
Plus, why not try our Active Advent Calendar for January? Start 2021 off right, and try a new activity brought to you by local teams and trainers every day in January! The exercises range from light to challenging, every single one can be done from home, and can all be modified so everyone can get involved and tailor their exercises to what suits them.
What if I'm self isolating?
If you've recently contracted symptoms or been diagnosed with Coronavirus or any other winter illness, we know that exercising can be the last thing from your mind if you're feeling run down. However, exercise is actually proven to help boost not only your immune system (to stop you getting ill) but speed up your recovery too, whilst preventing a process called deconditioning.
What's next for Norfolk?
This lockdown was annonced on 4 January, and is expected to last until February half term at least. This does mean many will be stuck at home, particularly those who are clinically vulnerable or children who are having to be home schooled.
If you require support in remaining active, check out our bank of resources. We're constantly updating it, and are on hand to keep Norfolk active and moving during this tough time.
If you require support for your mental wellbeing, check out our page which can signpost you to the right people. Stay strong, we'll get through it if we all work together and support one another!