Council Leaders are calling on Edinburgh citizens to enjoy the springtime festivities safely, considerately and locally while Covid restrictions are still in place.
Weather forecasters are predicting long spells of sunshine and mild temperatures tomorrow and Saturday, meaning thousands of people are expected to flock to enjoy the bank holiday weekend in the many parks and beauty spots around the Capital.
From tomorrow [Friday 2 April], Scotland's 'Stay at Home' advice changes to 'Stay Local', as part of the national roadmap out of lockdown. This means people can leave their homes for purposes other than work, exercise or to buy food, but there is still a restriction on travelling outwith your local authority area, unless it's essential.
Recent media reports and social media coverage have highlighted significant amounts of litter left behind in parks such as the Meadows, where there have also been incidents involving illegal gatherings and antisocial behaviour such as public urination and toileting.
Council waste and cleansing workers will be targeting resources in the Meadows and other popular destinations over the Easter break, with extra collections of large litter bins in targeted areas.
The Council continues to work very closely with Police Scotland to address antisocial behaviour. Following recent incidents of antisocial behaviour and breaches of Covid restrictions in the Meadows, including on the evening of Tuesday 30 March when a large gathering was dispersed by Police Scotland, visible police patrols will continue in the area throughout the Easter period.
Council Leader Adam McVey said:
I want to pay tribute to everyone in the city who's worked so hard and sacrificed so much to keep themselves, their loved ones and our whole community safe through this dreadful pandemic. As things start to ease up, it'll be wonderful to begin enjoying some of the things we've all missed so much, but we have to take things slow and steady, or we risk setting ourselves back again.
This Easter weekend is a great opportunity to meet up safely with friends and family, in line with the guidance. I know the vast majority of citizens will enjoy our fabulous open spaces responsibly, leaving the areas as they'd expect to find them.
Sadly, some people don't always behave quite so considerately, so our sincere plea to everyone is to respect and care for our parks, beaches and greenspaces while you're visiting them. If there's no bin or the bin's full awaiting one of our regular patrols to empty it, please take your litter home with you. The Council teams are working hard to keep our green spaces clean but please remember your rubbish is your responsibility.
Remember the need to Stay Local, too – we can’t run the risk right now of the virus travelling between local authority areas. It will be safe again to travel within Scotland before too long if we all stick together and help keep the case rates down. If we stick at it and do our bit now, it won’t be long before we all reap the benefits.
Council Depute Leader Cammy Day said:
Edinburgh is an amazingly beautiful city and we're so lucky to have so much access to nature and green spaces. So it's really disheartening to see images of parks and beaches disfigured by litter and dog fouling - there's absolutely no excuse for it.
We're urging everyone who's planning a visit to a beauty spot this Easter weekend - or anytime, for that matter - to remember that these fantastic spaces are for every single one of us to enjoy. Please clean up after yourselves (and your dogs!) for the next person or family who comes along. We want to see the same community-mindedness and respect for each other's wellbeing that shone out in Edinburgh's response to the pandemic replicated in the way people treat our shared spaces.
Chief Superintendent Sean Scott, Divisional Commander for Edinburgh, said:
The coronavirus regulations have had a significant impact on our lives and I would like to thank the vast majority of people who are sticking to the rules and doing the right thing to avoid the spread of the virus as we move through the easing of restrictions.
People should not travel outwith their local authority area except for essential purposes. While Easter weekend is traditionally a time for visiting friends and family, I would urge people to stay local and follow the regulations on gatherings.
If you are visiting beauty spots within your local area, do so safely and respectfully – leaving no trace of your visit. Please also park responsibly to allow emergency access.
Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and encourage compliance, but we will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers as a last resort.
As well as the Stay Local change from 2 April, other adjustments to the national Covid restrictions will see garden centres, hairdressers, car dealerships, click and collect retail services and homeware stores, among others, able to reopen from 5 April.
Information on any changes to Council services is updated regularly on our dedicated web pages at edinburgh.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Social media messaging on litter, dog fouling and public urination will be ramped up on the Council's social media channels throughout the Easter period, along with reminders on the changes to national guidance so people understand which measures have been relaxed or amended.