SEVERAL car parks were closed by Torfaen council over the weekend due to “large numbers of people” breaking coronavirus regulations.

The car park at Cwmbran Boating Lake was among those to be shut after visitors travelled to the site from outside the borough, Torfaen council said.

Welsh Government coronavirus guidelines say that exercise should start and finish at home, and people should not generally drive to a location to exercise.

A spokesman for Torfaen council said: “Following discussion with Gwent Police, the council shut a number of car parks over the weekend due to the large numbers of people breaking current Covid-19 regulations.


“A number of visitors to the boating lake had travelled from outside the borough and when challenged the vast majority did not have a reasonable excuse for visiting.

“We appreciate shutting car parks is unfair for people with specific health or mobility issues that may need to travel from their home to be able to exercise.

“Fresh air and exercise is good for the physical and mental health of children and adults, but exercise or having a walk should start and finish from home and residents shouldn’t drive anywhere or meet anyone from outside their household for exercise.

“The car parks will be reopened so that residents with genuine reasons can continue to visit these destinations, but they will be monitored and closing them will remain a very last resort when the number of visitors are considered a risk to public health.”

The car parks have since been re-opened.

Inspector Aled George, of Gwent Police, said officers engaged with and encouraged those in attendance to return to their homes.

“A small number of individuals had visited from neighbouring local authority areas,” Inspector George said.

“Their details were taken by officers and they were formally directed to return home.

“The current alert level requires everyone to think about their travel plans, stay at home and to only leave home when it is essential.

“For those that continue to go against the rules, we’ll take enforcement action.”

What are the rules on exercise?

Welsh Government coronavirus rules say people can leave home to exercise as often as they like, providing they do so from home and alone, or with members of their own household.

The rules under alert level four say: “Your exercise should start and finish from your home and generally, this should not involve people driving to a location away from home.

“However, we recognise that some people, such as those with specific health or mobility issues, may need to travel from their home in order to exercise.

“For example, wheelchair users may not be able to start exercise immediately outside their homes for practical access reasons.

“Driving to a suitable flat location, such as a park, would be permitted in this instance.

“Where people need to drive to access exercise, the journey should be to the nearest convenient accessible location. No long journeys should be undertaken unless absolutely necessary.”

Guidance on the rules add that “exercise should be undertaken locally – from home or as close as possible to the home.”

“In general this should not involve people driving to a location away from home for this purpose,” it adds.

“No journeys of any significant distance should be taken, for example, just in order to exercise in the countryside or at beauty spots.”

There are no limits on the distance you can travel during exercise, but the nearer you stay to home, the better.