The Welsh Government has introduced emergency regulations, Health Protection (Coronavirus restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020, that allow local authorities to close footpaths and other rights of way where use poses a high risk to the spread of coronavirus.
Closures would be necessary when Public Rights of Way are considered to be areas:
(a) Liable to large numbers of people congregating or being in close proximity to each other, or
(b) The use of which otherwise poses a high risk to the incidence or spread of infection in its area with the coronavirus.
The council are not looking for extensive closures of footpaths (as outdoor spaces close to where people live will continue to be important to general wellbeing), but will monitor and close if necessary.
Current Government advice is that people should:
• Keep 2 metres / 6½ feet from others at all times
• Be vigilant with hand washing and hygiene – Be aware that gates, stiles and other outdoor structures are touched regularly
• Do not undertake new or risky activities – Stay safe during this time of increased burden on our emergency and health services
• Follow the Countryside Code - Consider farmers and others who are working hard to keep our shelves stocked and infrastructure running.
Closure of public paths are being assessed using a ’Closure Scoring Matrix’. The criteria used as a basis for making closure decisions includes; usage by large numbers of people, the nature or location of the footpath increasing the risk of users being in close proximity, behavior and incidents of high risk activity.
The Council will not object to land owners posting appropriately worded signs to notify footpath users that family members are vulnerable and/or self-isolating, nor to the offer of an alternative permissive route which avoids close proximity to homes, buildings and livestock, subject to safety insurance/liability coverage. The Rights of Way team have sign templates for available use and can be requested from firstname.lastname@example.org