‘Hands, Face, Space’ at closing time

To remind people not to gather at closing times in the city centre and risk transmitting the virus, the council and partners will be increasing the presence of officers and BID rangers in the evenings.

In support of this, Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to ask that the Government provide immediate clarity on the funding available for Covid marshalls and enforcement of the national guidance.

North Yorkshire Police, public health experts, York BID and other partners are working with the council’s community safety team and Safer York Partnership to put in place an increased presence throughout the evening to help ensure people’s safety.

The message is to encourage people to go straight home after a night out and follow the Hands Face Space guidance. To support these efforts, buskers will be discouraged from playing in key locations when pubs and restaurants are closing.

Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for safer communities, said: “Whilst we want residents and visitors to be able to enjoy our city, we also want to ensure that people are safe and to reduce the risk of infection.

“I would encourage people to enjoy the city and then return safely home to help slow the spread of the virus and to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”

Sharon Stoltz, director of public health at City of York Council, said: “Gathering in large groups close to each other gives the virus the chance to spread and increases the risk for us all. We want people to enjoy themselves in our fantastic city while looking after each other. The best way to do that is to remember ‘Hands, Face, Space’ and to:

– Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds or more with soap and water

– Keep 2m apart from people outside your household and don’t gather in groups of more than six

– Wear a face covering in busy public spaces

– Self-isolate if you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a continuous dry cough and a loss of or change in the sense of taste or smell) or if contacted by test and trace as a contact of someone who has Coronavirus. If you have symptoms please ask for a test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119.”

Superintendent Mike Walker, who is leading the COVID-19 response for North Yorkshire Police said: “We’ve been working very closely with our partners to make sure all the relevant steps to slow the spread of this virus have been taken and to make the city of York as safe as possible to visit.

“However it’s not just down to police, partners, business owners and licensees to stop the spread of this deadly virus, it’s also down to the public to make the right decisions and abide by the regulations.

“We have been living with Covid-19 for some time now and we all know the devastating impact it could have on our loved-ones, families, businesses and our NHS. We also know what we have to do to halt the spread – think Hands, Face, Space: wear a face covering and try to limit contact as much as possible.

“North Yorkshire Police will continue to do everything within our power to keep the people of York and North Yorkshire safe. We know the majority of the public will join us and follow the rules. Those who do not, and who put the vulnerable among us at risk, should fully expect police to take action against them.

“My advice to anyone who is thinking of enjoying a night out in the city this weekend is to follow the regulations, otherwise your night could suddenly become a very expensive one.”