RESIDENTS have been advised that outdoor exercise in Dorset should be done at "the closest location where it is safest" to do so.

Dorset Police has said now it not the time to be "picking and choosing where to travel to exercise based on which location you’d prefer to visit".

The Daily Echo has sought responses from the force and BCP Council over their understanding on the coronavirus regulations.

This comes after different interpretations and approaches have been taken across the country.

A Dorset Police spokeswoman said: "The Government is asking people to stay at home and only leave or travel for a limited number of reasons, including exercise. The full list of exemptions can be found at

"The Government guidance states that you should not travel outside your local area for exercise.

"Local means stay within your village, town or part of your city or for the purpose of exercise. This is the closest location where it is safest to exercise.

"This is not the time to be picking and choosing where to travel to exercise based on which location you’d prefer to visit. This will have to wait for another time.

"We are asking people to be responsible and play their part. Our officers will continue to use their discretion when speaking to members of the public. However, they will enforce where necessary."

A BCP Council spokeswoman said the local authority is "carefully following the current guidance to allow people to exercise safely in public spaces".

While this exercise is allowed in places like parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, public gardens, the grounds of heritage sites and playgrounds, some facilities such as golf courses, tennis courts and outdoor sports courts must close.

BCP Council's car parks are open to allow access to open spaces for people who are not fortunate enough to live within easy walking or cycling distance of them, although the council said this should always be within the local area.

The spokeswoman added: "Our COVID Marshals are supporting the police to ensure that people understand the rules regarding exercise and are using public spaces safely, in line with the rules on social distancing and mixing."

Cllr Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for COVID-19 Resilience and Public Health, BCP Council said: "The current lockdown guidance states that people can leave their homes for exercise once a day and can do so in public spaces.

"However, if you do go out to exercise, remember that one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising.

"It is vital that you stay local to reduce the spread of the virus and keep two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble when you are outside. And if somewhere looks too busy, don't risk it."

“If people cannot easily walk or cycle to public open space for exercise, then it is reasonable within the rules to drive to their nearest open space. But we would urge everyone to consider whether they need to travel for exercise in the first place."