Wepre parkrun: Sajid Javid hits out at new Welsh Government Covid restriction on outdoor gatherings
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said he “cannot see how restricting outdoor exercise is justified or proportionate” after parkrun said it had “no choice” but to cancel its events in Wales.
The popular 5km runs have been cancelled following the introduction of new ‘alert level 2’ Covid restrictions in Wales.
Those restrictions include a ban on outdoor gatherings of 50 people and more.
Parkrun said it was taking the step of cancelling all events in Wales from January 1 – with the exception of junior park runs.
Wepre parkrun announced on Facebook page the popular 5km run was being suspended until further notice from Boxing Day.
Sajid Javid tweeted: “Parkrun has helped so many people improve their health across the UK.”
“I can’t see how restricting outdoor exercise in this way is justified or proportionate.”
Parkrun has helped so many people improve their health across the UK. I can’t see how restricting outdoor exercise in this way is justified or proportionate. https://t.co/GUyryHo91N
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) December 28, 2021
In a statement, parkrun said: “Unfortunately, the Welsh Government has also announced a gathering limit of 50 people, from December 26 onwards.
“We know that some Welsh parkrun events regularly have fewer than 50 people attending, however it would take a very small influx (at what is typically a very busy time of year) for them to exceed the limit.
“We understand that this news will be incredibly disappointing to many Welsh parkrunners, and we’d like to reassure you all that we will do everything we can to bring parkrun events back across Wales as soon as these restrictions are lifted.
Last week Welsh Athletics and parkrun’s chief operating officer Tom Willaims published a joint letter
“Welsh Athletics and parkrun are disappointed and concerned by the introduction of prohibitive restrictions that will once again significantly impact on the ability for people to engage with walking, running, and volunteering activities across Wales.”
“The benefits of walking, running, and volunteering for physical and mental health and wellbeing are well documented, and have been championed by many within the Senedd.”
“It is also widely accepted, and supported by the evidence, that not only do outdoor environments present incredibly low risk of virus transmission, but increasing physical activity and health is one of the most important tools for overcoming COVID-19.”
The letter goes on to say: “Unfortunately, not only does there appear to be no evidence that stopping events like ours is beneficial overall to public health, but we would argue the evidence suggests doing so does more harm than good.”
“We therefore call on the Welsh Government to work with us, look closely at the evidence associated with outdoor physical activity events, and agree a way forward such that we can help improve the health of people across Wales.”
“It is very clear to us that the public health benefits of outdoor physical activity events far outweigh the public health risks, and we therefore urge the First Minister to review his control plan and remove the prohibitive restrictions on events such as ours.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com