As the new social distancing guidelines have become more relaxed and people are now able to visit parks, the high temperatures set for today have caused concerns that more of the public will begin to flout government guidelines.
According to the Met Office, the East and West Midlands are set to experience high temperatures of up to 26 degrees today, meaning it would be the hottest day of the year so far.
With the government changing its message to “stay alert” rather than “stay at home”, many locals feel that parks will become crowded and social distancing rules will be compromised.
Shirley Wright, 86, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire expressed her concern, saying: “I am in the vulnerable age group and am already doing my bit by staying home other than when I get essentials. It worries me that people will be defiant just because the weather is getting warmer.
“I think it is inevitable that people will go out, but I hope that people are mindful and remember that the coronavirus is still at large. Avoiding going to public areas as much as possible and staying at home is a small price to pay if it means we can get through this crisis quicker.”
Others are planning to make the most of the weather but will do so from the comfort of their own homes.
Lucia Loffreda, 23, from Stapleford, Nottingham said: “I’ll enjoy the weather from my garden. In normal circumstances, I’d spend a sunny day like this at Wollaton Park, but I think it’ll be too busy today which puts me off. I think everyone will have the same idea to go to the park which defeats the point of social distancing.”
Jack Beresford, 22, from Heanor, Derbyshire also added that he will be avoiding places where he’ll have to pass big crowds of people. “I’ll be taking in the sun from home. I like to go on runs but I’ll be avoiding parks when I do, especially when they’re busy. I normally go at off-peak times or to quieter areas, as I don’t like going to places where I have to pass a lot of people.”
A similar spike in temperatures occurred last month, with the Government urging people to stay home and making them aware of the danger of defying social distancing restrictions.
In an address to the nation last week, prime minister Boris Johnson warned people exercising in public areas to still follow government guidelines.
Mr. Johnson said: “We want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise. You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports, but only with members of your own household.
“You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.”