LOCKDOWN rules continue to cause confusion for residents, particularly with regards to dog walking.

Government guidance issued by the Cabinet Office following the announcement of the third national lockdown last week states staying at home is ‘the single most important action’ to take in order to protect the NHS.

People can however leave their homes for exercise with their household (or support bubble) or one other person. This should be limited to once per day and people should not travel outside their local area.

The guidance dictates if leaving home, then to stay local, meaning staying in ‘the village, town or part of the city where you live’.

See also: MINI plant set to reopen despite lockdown

However, a post on the Spotted Witney Facebook page asked people who ‘travel to the Roman Villa or North Leigh Common’ to walk their dogs from their home rather than travelling to North Leigh.

Commenting on the post, Tom Fletcher-Manuel said: “I assume the people of East End and North Leigh will use the North Leigh Post Office for their essential shopping needs rather than travelling out of their local area to Witney.

“People who live in and around Witney are totally within their rights to drive to the Roman Villa.”

Witney Gazette: Mosaics at North Leigh Roman Villa were given a special deep clean. Picture: North Leigh Roman Villa VolunteersMosaics at North Leigh Roman Villa were given a special deep clean. Picture: North Leigh Roman Villa Volunteers

Other commenters disagreed, with Tracy Henwood saying: “If you live in Witney then there is no need to get in a car to walk your dog – one reason why I have lived loving here for over 50 years.”

Josephine Hammick added: “It’s the car parks accumulating in and around these places of interest causing chaos.”

Susie Cusick, vice chair of North Leigh Parish Council, said: “I suppose if you’re on your own and not meeting anyone then I don’t see it as a major problem.

“I wouldn’t do it myself as I personally only walk around the village.

“I think with the March lockdown, it was easier as the weather was nicer so people could use their gardens.”

Read more: Gymnastics club set for new home after 30 years

Mrs Cusick retired in 2015 after 38 years as a staff nurse in newborn intensive care.

However, she still does a small number of shifts a month at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Commenting on the current situation, she said: “You’ve got to follow the Government rules, I know people are fed up and it’s hard but it’s scary now at times.

“We still don’t know enough about this variant as well, there’s a bigger risk of passing it on.”

See also: Five-year-old wins bravery award after difficult 2020

Luci Ashbourne, leader of Witney Town Council, added: “The Government’s guidance on daily exercise is frustratingly unclear, so it is understandable people remain confused over exactly what is and isn’t allowed, and what is meant by ‘your local area’ when it comes to daily exercise.

“I would advise everyone to err on the side of caution, and remind everyone to act with kindness during these difficult times, and resist the urge to turn on each other.

“Most people are doing their best to follow the rules and I hope decision-makers in Government can reflect on the national confusion around this, and communicate clear guidelines that are not open to interpretation one way or another.”