Cheshire West and Chester Council has provided the following advice.
“People living in close proximity to public rights of way are reminded that the public have a legal right to use a Public Right of Way, and that they should not block or obstruct paths. Some paths pass close to residential properties, and in some cases through gardens, but with sensible precautions there is no reason that this would increase the risk to householders of contracting Coronavirus.
Public rights of way provide an opportunity for local people to take exercise and get some fresh air in these difficult times. However, people should not be making special journeys to access them, and should not congregate on public rights of way. If there is a particular problem with people congregating on a right of way then the Police should be informed who have powers to disperse such groups.
Where residents living near Public Rights of Way have concerns then they should exercise suitable precautions to ensure social distancing from people on the path. They may also want to regularly clean any gate latches or other surfaces on any paths across their property.
In exercising their right of way the public should be mindful that some Public Rights of Way pass through residential properties and / or working farms, etc. So as to prevent the spread of the virus the public should ensure that they keep to the line of the Public Right of Way, avoid approaching buildings off the line of the Public Right Way and also approaching farm animals and pets belonging to those properties.
The Council will take any further actions necessary in the event of any changes to legislation or Government guidance but at this time there are no plans to close public rights of way.”