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Community / Scottish Government encourages people to exercise ‘locally’

THE SCOTTISH Government has clarified its stance on people driving somewhere before going for a walk, saying daily exercise should be carried out “locally” and that folk should “avoid unnecessary travel that could help spread” coronavirus.

It comes amid some confusion locally on social media as to whether it is okay at the moment to travel somewhere before going for a walk or a run.

Government guidance says exercise can be carried out once a day but there has been no specific mention in the formal guidance of whether people could travel to a location before exercising.

Some in Shetland have taken to social media to criticise people for travelling to places before walking, but others have defended it, saying that driving to other areas may actually reduce the chance of spreading the virus or allow people the chance to walk safely.

Shetland News contacted the Scottish Government on Friday (27 March) for clarification.

A spokesperson said: “Our advice is for people to stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel that is not deemed a ‘reasonable excuse’.

“We would encourage people to take daily exercise locally and avoid unnecessary travel that could help spread the virus.”

The Shetland police backed this view and said it was following Scottish Government guidance.

Reasonable excuses stated by the Scottish Government includes:

•shopping for food

•essential household and medical supplies

•exercise once a day

•medical assistance

•travel to work where work at home is not an option

•attending a funeral of a member of their household, a close family member or in the event that no family or household member is attending the funeral, of a friend

•providing care or assistance to others

•and meeting legal obligations or accessing critical public services

Police Scotland has always said that it will take a “reasonable, fair and proportionate approach” to enforcing rules during the ‘lockdown’ period, but it will be encouraging people to stay at home and avoid travel.