Snow and Covid: Can I go sledging and what are the Covid lockdown rules in the snow in Leeds?
Heavy snow has fallen across Leeds this morning and several parts of the city have been blanketed for the second time in under a week.
Of course, the snow represents a potential respite from the drag of constant lockdowns and chance to enjoy some fun in the wintry wonderland that's been created in several parts of the city.
As happened last week, many residents of Leeds have begun building snowmen and sledging in various roads and parks in the city.
But police have issued a warning to drivers not to travel, on top of the Covid regulations which also advise people to stay at home unless they absolutely have to leave their home for work, food, medicine or one form of exercise per day.
What do the Covid regulations say about exercise and travel and how do the national lockdown rules apply to sledging and exercising in the snow?
You should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
You can exercise in a public outdoor place:
with the people you live with
with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household
This includes but is not limited to running, cycling, walking, and swimming. Personal training can continue if participants are from the same household or support bubble. It can also continue if it is one-one-one, although this should only take place in a public outdoor place, and not in someone’s private home or garden.
The rules do not list sledging as a form of exercise but, as long as you are sticking to the rules set out here - you are staying within your household or support bubble, you are with a maximum of one person from another household (at a social distance), and you have only travelled to a local area within short walking distance, then it would seem that sledging and building snowmen would be permitted in the rules.
Public outdoor places include:
parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
the grounds of a heritage site
If you (or a person in your care) have a health condition that routinely requires you to leave home to maintain your health - including if that involves travel beyond your local area or exercising several times a day - then you can do so.
When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household - meaning the people you live with - or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (like wearing a face covering).
If you're tempted to throw a big sledging and snow party - well, police can still fine you.
The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).
You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.